After allegations of a hostile work environment, the FDIC adds two new offices

In today's Federal Newscast, the FDIC is taking several steps in light of recent findings of a hostile work environment.

  • The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is taking several steps in light of recent findings of a workplace culture that was fraught with allegations of sexual harassment and other kinds of misconduct. The FDIC Board of Directors will create two new offices, the Office of Professional Conduct (OPC) and the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity. It also approved the development of two new policies, one around Anti-Retaliation and another focused on Anti-Fraternization. The board says FDIC employees will play a role in developing the policies by offering feedback. Finally, the board says the agency will hire a third-party to monitor and audit all of its recommendations to improve agency culture, policies, procedures and structures.
  • The Forest Service is lifting a hiring pause, but only filling its highest-priority vacancies. The agency is moving move forward with 157 tentative job offers for non-wildland fire positions, such as administrative and law enforcement jobs. But the agency says remaining applicants who received tentative job offers won’t move onto the next stage of hiring. Forest Service Chief Randy Moore says the agency is seeing a lower rate of attrition, and a tighter budgets, after federal employees this year received their highest average pay raise in over 40 years. Wildland firefighting positions are unaffected by these hiring restrictions.
  • The head of the FCC is proposing cybersecurity requirements for public alert systems. FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel has released draft cyber rules for the U.S. emergency alert system, as well as for wireless emergency alerts. They would require communications providers to use cybersecurity risk management plans, and alert the FCC within 24 hours of any equipment defects. They would also require emergency alert providers to have contingency plans in place in case of a system outage. Rosenworcel says her proposal is in line with Department of Homeland Security efforts to set minimum cyber requirements for critical infrastructure.
  • A top federal cybersecurity division is losing another familiar face. Ross Foard is stepping down as senior engineer in CISA’s cybersecurity division. Foard spent eight years at the agency, leading efforts on identity security and helping to shape the continuous diagnostics and mitigation program. Foard’s departure comes after CISA’s executive assistant director for cybersecurity, Eric Goldstein, stepped down last month. Goldstein has now landed at Capital One as head of cyber risk for the bank.
  • The Army takes another key step toward creating its network of the future. The branch is out with its first pass as what its unified and modern network could look like. A new request for information from PEO-C3T is asking for industry feedback on draft solicitation requirements for the Unified Network Operations or UNO program. The Army is expecting to issue the multiple award, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract in mid-fiscal 2025. It has an expected ceiling of more than a billion dollars. The Army is using the software pathway acquisition model to develop a software-defined, agile network of the future. Vendors must ask the Army PEO-C3T for access to the draft documents. Comments on the RFI are due by July 17.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs is spending nearly $27 million on legal services for veterans experiencing, or at risk of homelessness. VA is awarding grants to public and non-profit organizations that provide legal help for veterans in need. The funding is meant to help veterans avoid eviction, obtain VA disability benefits, and aid in court proceedings over child support or custody. VA estimates the U.S. homeless veteran population has fallen by nearly 5% since 2020.
  • Traffic is expected to surge next week in the nation’s capital, with the U.S. hosting a NATO summit in downtown D.C. To help ease what will likely be high frustration for commuters, agencies are being encouraged — wherever possible — to let their employees telework all next week. The Office of Personnel Management’s memo to agencies says employees can also take time off as a way to avoid traffic. For feds who do have to go to the office, OPM recommends adding in extra time to get to work, and checking for street closures.
    (Memo on NATO summit in Washington, D.C. - Office of Personnel Management)

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