Blindsided by pay problems, certain VA medical employees might be allowed union help

In today's Federal Newscast: The National Park Service offers the best customer experience in the government, according to research firm Forrester. The chief ma...

  • The Office of Management and Budget's customer service effort is not just focused on citizens. The latest attempt to fix the federal hiring process is expected to get a big boost in 2024. The Office of Personnel Management is eyeing the expansion of the pooled hiring initiative. Jason Miller, the deputy director for management at OMB, said pooled hiring is an example of how the administration is focused on the plumbing of customer experience. "We have 400 hires selected through that. OPM has launched five governmentwide pool efforts, eight more [are] planned. We need to go way bigger," Miller said
    (OMB Deputy Director for Management Jason Miller - Federal News)
  • Sponsors of a bipartisan bill are looking to fix pay issues at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Some VA medical professionals cannot have their union advocate for them when certain pay errors occur. But the VA Correct Compensation Act is looking to change that. The bill would define what unions can do to represent VA health care workers when it comes to pay issues. The American Federation of Government Employees supports the bill. It says VA doctors, registered nurses and dentists have lost out on wages because their union could not step in to remedy payroll errors. House VA Committee Chairman Mike Bost (R-Ill.) and Ranking Member Mark Takano (D-Calif.) introduced the bill.
  • Military officers whose nominations were blocked for nearly a year might receive back pay. Sens. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) new bill would require the Defense Department to provide better benefits and ensure the lost time counts toward the seniority of the officers. The act would make promotions for officers retroactive to 30 days after nominations were sent to the Senate. Earlier this week, the Senate confirmed over 400 military nominees after Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) ended a 10-month blockade of promotions to protest the Pentagon’s abortion policy.
  • Leaders in the oversight community now have more guidance to improve diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. Offices of Inspectors General can see more details on making workplaces more accessible and creating a harassment-free work environment. It is all included in an update to a DEIA roadmap. That document, created by a diversity committee for oversight offices, outlines different recommendations and milestones, and how to measure progress. The committee's leaders said improving DEIA in the workforce can also improve the depth of IG reports overall.
  • Employee satisfaction was relatively strong in this year's Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS). But some agencies outdid the governmentwide results. Employees at the Office of Government Ethics gave the agency a score of 90% on how engaged they feel when at work. That is compared with an average score of 72% across all agencies. OGE also scored a 97% for FEVS questions relating to agency performance and meeting customer needs.
    (2023 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey results - Office of Government Ethics)
  • The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is looking for feedback on acquisition innovation. In a request for information, DARPA wants to hear from organizations that have previously had Other Transactions (OT) agreements with the agency. Specifically, the agency wants to know the challenges or barriers companies experienced when entering into an OT. DARPA is also interested in obtaining feedback on how it could make the process of submitting a proposal for an OT easier. Comments on the RFI are due by December 15.
  • The chief management officer is not coming back to the Defense Department, at least not this year. The 2024 Defense Authorization bill did not adopt the provision to reinstate the CMO, which Congress eliminated in 2021. Lawmakers removed the Senate-sponsored provision as the House and Senate agreed yesterday, in principle, to the NDAA, as the legislation passed out of conference committee. The bill still must be passed by the full House and Senate, and signed by the president before becoming law.
  • The National Park Service offers the best customer experience in the government. That is according to this year’s federal CX scorecard from research firm Forrester. The National Park Service has won the top spot for seven years now. It also beat the average scores across most of the private sector. Forrester found that veterans receive the best customer experience from government, but military spouses get the worst.

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