Thousands of new highly paid IRS accountants will help ferret out tax cheats

In today's Federal Newscast: Homeland Security advisers are calling for technology investments that support remote work. A congressional investigation continues...

  • Do you want to go after wealthy tax cheats? Well, the IRS has a job for you. The agency is hiring 3,700 internal revenue agents across the country. It is a mid-career position that pays about $125,000 a year. The IRS said total compensation is closer to $175,000 a year, once you include federal employee benefits like child care, paid parental leave, and student loan repayment. The IRS is looking for experienced accountants with a deep knowledge of complicated tax compliance issues. They will be trained to audit large corporations and complex partnerships.
  • Advisers are urging the Department of Homeland Security to invest in technology that supports remote work. The Homeland Security Advisory Council finalized a new report on DHS workforce challenges and recommendations. The council said DHS’s post-pandemic shift to telework has helped it compete with the private sector. The report suggests DHS double down on that move by supporting flexible work arrangements and prioritizing how its workforce can harness new technologies like generative artificial intelligence.
  • Career federal employees will soon have a little more protection against the possible rise of Schedule F. The Office of Personnel Management is trying to reinforce worker protections for non-political feds. Under a new proposed rule, federal employees would see more transparency and an appeals process in the case that their agency tries to reclassify their job. An executive order from the Trump administration sought to reclassify about 50,000 feds to make them easier to fire. Although that order is now revoked, OPM’s new reinforcements come in response to rising concerns over a possible return of Schedule F. Several Republican presidential candidates have said they will remove many career civil servants from their jobs if elected. The Biden administration’s new proposal is hedging against that possibility in the future.
  • The first step to update key technology modernization legislation is slated to happen this week. Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) is expected to introduce her update to the Modernizing Government Technology Act this week, with a markup of the reform bill slated for Wednesday. Federal News Network has learned the bill will likely include an extension of the Technology Modernization Fund board to 2030, instead of it expiring in 2025. The legislation is expected to include a requirement for the board to collect fees from agencies as a way to sustain the fund. A third provision would require agencies to submit an annual IT system inventory to the Office of Management and Budget, and require OMB to develop a priority list of IT systems that need modernization.
    (House to markup MGT Reform Act - House Committee on Oversight)
  • Postal Service employees are still waiting on missing or incomplete paychecks. More than half a dozen rural letter carriers across the country told Federal News Network they received an incomplete paycheck for the second pay period in a row, or are still waiting on their September 1 paycheck. USPS payroll errors are impacting more than 50,000 rural carriers, most of them part-time, non-career employees. The National Rural Letter Carriers Association said it is one of the biggest glitches it has seen in recent history. The union said the ongoing pay issues are sporadic, not system-wide.
  • Lauren Knausenberger, the former chief information officer of the Air Force, has a new job. She joined SAIC as an executive vice president. The company announced Knausenberger will have a dual role. She will lead the company's innovation strategy across all of its portfolios, ensuring its capabilities are mission-relevant, agile and aligned with customer needs. And Knausenberger will lead SAIC's corporate strategy function. She left the Air Force in June after six years, spending nearly the last three years as its CIO. The Air Force named Venice Goodwine as its new CIO in August.
  • The investigation continues into potential COVID-19 record-keeping violations by the National Institutes of Health. Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, wants answers from the agency. His subcommittee is questioning whether Senior Scientific Adviser David Morens used his personal emails for government business and illegally destroyed documents and records pertaining to the federal response to the pandemic. In June, through the National Archives and Records Administration, the subcommittee requested documents from Morens. Last month, NIH reported it found no wrongdoing.
  • The Senior Executives Association is recognizing three agency officials with awards for excellence in federal leadership. Jennifer Ellison, at the Transportation Security Administration, has earned SEA's title of Professional of the Year. Avie Snow, at the Department of Veterans Affairs, has been awarded the Professional Lifetime Achievement Award. And taking home the award for Spirit of Excellence in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility is Maryann Sofranko at the National Institutes of Health. SEA's 2023 winners are the second-ever cohort that the organization has recognized. SEA represents the interests of more than 10,000 career federal executives.
    (2023 SEA Annual Awards - Senior Executives Association)
  • A federal panel, the Cybersecurity Advisory Committee, said there is a genuine need for a national cybersecurity alert system and that the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency could run the system. In a new report, the panel suggested that CISA’s forthcoming cyber incident reporting rules could help CISA build out the alert system and could use it to warn organizations to prepare for specific cyber threats that could hit their networks.

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