IRS’ record retention practices now below federal requirements

  • Changing electronic storage policies and an outdated email system have brought the Internal Revenue Service’s record retention practices below federal standards. In a new report, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said those factors have led to lost or unintentionally destroyed federal records. They’ve also made it hard for IRS to keep former employees from keeping information after they leave. (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration)
  • The Environmental Protection Agency sent nearly 200 employees early retirement and buyout letters. Union officials with the EPA said employees nationwide are receiving the letters, asking them to leave by Sept. 2. The early retirements and buyouts are being offered to roughly 1,200 employees as part of the government reorganization. (Washington Free Beacon)
  • Reorganization efforts are reportedly also taking place at the State Department. Foreign Policy reports Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is disbanding the State’s Office of Global Criminal Justice. Todd Buchwald, who’s in charge of the office, along with the rest of its staff will apparently be reassigned. The State Department did not confirm or deny the move. (Foreign Policy)
  • A series of bills to be considered by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee could have an impact on the federal workforce. The committee will consider a bipartisan bill designed to give Thrift Savings Plan participants more options. It will also mark up a bill to expand agencies’ ability to reward employees who save their agency money. (Federal News Radio)
  • Two top senators have a new proposal to overcome years of congressional gridlock surrounding military base closures. Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I) — the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee — are circulating draft legislation that would start a new BRAC process in 2021. But it would be different from past BRAC rounds in several ways. It would not involve an independent commission, and the Defense Department could only propose base closures that saved enough money to pay for themselves within seven years. The Pentagon would also have to plan for a much larger military than today’s force before it decides how much real estate it truly needs. (Federal News Radio)
  • Defense Secretary James Mattis put on hold the idea of creating a chief innovation officer in the Pentagon. The position was a recommendation from the Defense Innovation Board. Mattis wants the deputy defense secretary to review the plan for the innovation officer before a decision is made. (Federal News Radio)
  • Agencies could get more time to implement requirements of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition and Reform Act. Key FITARA provisions were given extra time, and in some cases permanence, thanks to the House’s passage of the National Defense Authorization Act. Under the legislation, agencies are permanently required to make their IT investment information public, and are permanently directed to annually review their IT investment portfolios for duplication and waste. Sunset dates for agencies’ data center inventories and auditing reports were extended from 2018 to 2020. (Rep. Gerry Connolly)
  • The Veterans Affairs Department fired the director and chief of staff at the VA Medical Center in Manchester, New Hampshire, after whistleblower reports of substandard care. The Boston Globe first reported accounts from 11 doctors and medical professionals. They describe a fly-infested operating room and patients whose conditions were ignored. VA Secretary David Shulkin said the department’s new Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection will conduct a review of the hospital. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Homeland Security Department moved to prevent what it calls irreparable harm to U.S. businesses. Responding to complaints, DHS issued 15,000 extra visas for seasonal, non-agricultural foreign workers this summer. That brings the total of H-2B visas to the statutory limit of 66,000 for the year. To hire foreign temps, businesses such as hotels and restaurants must attest on penalty of perjury they’d otherwise suffer irreparable harm. Businesses can start submitting their applications this week. (Department of Homeland Security)

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