OMB discards COVID-19 executive orders

OMB disbands the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force and OPM chimes in on COVID-related time off.

  • The Office of Management and Budget is disbanding the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force and rescinding all COVID-19 related executive orders and guidance. New memos from OMB and the Office of Personnel Management officially ended certain leave policies that are no longer needed. OMB said agencies should still promote and establish a safe and healthy federal workplace and ensure pandemic preparedness. OPM said agencies should limit when they give COVID-19-related administrative leave, stipulating it should be allowed for employees getting vaccinated, but not given to an employee who is assisting a family member in getting vaccinated or if the employee is having an adverse reaction to a vaccine.
  • The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said Russia-linked hackers stole emails between agencies and Microsoft. CISA is telling any affected agencies to reset their passwords and deactivate old accounts. In an emergency directive issued late last week, CISA said the stolen emails pose a grave risk to the federal government. The hackers were able to steal the messages — which could include sensitive log-in details — from Microsoft's corporate IT systems. Agencies have until April 30 to investigate whether their credentials were stolen and reset any affected systems.
  • A new request for information is asking for feedback on a new part of the Federal Acquisition Regulations. The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council wants to know if it got FAR Part 40 right. The council is asking for agency and industry feedback on whether the new cybersecurity and supply chain security section captures the right acquisition regulations or if it is missing something. The FAR Council established FAR Part 40 on April 1. In the RFI, the council is seeking feedback around specific examples of how an organization is or would be impacted negatively or positively by the scope and subparts of the new section. It is also asking for any revisions and how they would be more effective. Responses to the RFI are due by June 10.
  • Union petitions and charges of unfair labor practices are soaring. And the agency handling them is struggling to keep up. The National Labor Relations Board said the surge in its caseload comes alongside limited funding and staffing shortages. Funding from Congress for fiscal 2024 helped some. It ended a hiring freeze, prevented furloughs, and helped the agency backfill some staff vacancies. But the agency is calling for more resources to further improve staffing. The NLRB said it has worked with flat funding in nine of the past 10 years.
  • Military pharmacies are finally back to business as usual, after a February cyber attack that affected huge swathes of the nation’s health care industry. The Defense Department said all of its pharmacies had to resort to manual workarounds to fill prescriptions starting in late February. That is when Change Healthcare, a health IT company that delivers data to DoD and private care providers, was hit by a ransomware attack. The Defense Health Agency said its connections to those services came back online a little under two weeks ago, and military pharmacies have been moving back toward normal operations since then.
  • The Social Security numbers of federal employees will no longer appear on most Office of Personnel Management paperwork sent through the mail. The change is meant to prevent fraud and identify theft, while also protecting feds’ privacy. A final rule from OPM on Friday made the change official. There may still be rare exceptions where a Social Security number is included on mailed documents, but that will only happen if OPM deems it absolutely necessary.
  • The intelligence community is getting a new chief financial officer. Jon Rosenwasser will be the IC’s CFO after more than a decade as a professional staff member on the Senate Select Committee for Intelligence. He most recently served as the committee’s Budget and Policy Director. Rosenwasser was instrumental in helping lawmakers put together the annual intelligence authorization act. From 2006 to 2013, he worked at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, including a stint on the National Intelligence Council. As CFO, Rosenwasser will lead the 18 intel components and agencies in putting together the classified National Intelligence Program budget.


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