Best listening experience is on Chrome, Firefox or Safari. Subscribe to Federal Drive’s daily audio interviews on Apple Podcasts or PodcastOne.
The Postal Service is reminding employees they can’t get paid for speaking, writing or teaching about their experience on the job. That includes writing a book or article about the specifics of their postal duties or internal postal information. Leaders there want the Postal Service to present a single, united message to the public. Anyone with…
Best listening experience is on Chrome, Firefox or Safari. Subscribe to Federal Drive’s daily audio interviews on Apple podcasts or PodcastOne.
- The Postal Service is reminding employees they can’t get paid for speaking, writing or teaching about their experience on the job. That includes writing a book or article about the specifics of their postal duties or internal postal information. Leaders there want the Postal Service to present a single, united message to the public. Anyone with questions about the policy can call the USPS ethics helpline at (202) 268-6346.
- Continuing resolutions are hurting the ability of agencies to do business or hire. The Government Accountability Office found that Congress enacted 47 continuing resolutions since fiscal 2010. Officials at the Agriculture Department told GAO that CRs can cause hiring activities to slow down or pause. USDA Office of Rural Development officials said they may not extend new hire offers during a CR. The Education Department said travel funds may be inaccessible during a CR and in some cases the department has to delay contracting decisions until it knows its final funding levels. Congress has enacted a CR in all but three of the last 46 fiscal years.
- The Government Accountability Office reported that the Defense Department is likely to underreport how much money it’s spending on cloud services. In part, this is because DoD has not fully and consistently implemented the TBM, the Technology Business Management framework, as required by OMB in 2019. GAO found the Army and the Air Force did not follow leading TBM implementation practices, causing DoD to struggle in how it fully tracks IT costs. GAO recommended the DoD CIO issue new guidance to ensure consistent TBM implementation. But the Pentagon disagreed with that recommendation, saying only that the services and agencies are responsible for data quality.
- The Defense Health Agency came out on top over a protest of one of its major IT services contracts. The Government Accountability Office upheld DHA’s award to Perspecta Enterprise Solutions under its enterprise IT services integrator vehicle. Two losing bidders, Deloitte and ManTech, filed a protest after the May 13 award for this contract that is worth at least $640 million. GAO said Deloitte and ManTech’s claims that the award was tainted by conflicts of interest were not supported. And GAO said the two losing bidders’ allegations that the evaluation and selection decision were unreasonable and inconsistent also fell short. DHA will use the EITSI contract for all IT services and support capabilities, including delivery of a single electronic health record system to support an estimated 9.4 million beneficiaries.
- The US Copyright Office rolled out a new digital service for citizens seeking a copyright. The Copyright Office, part of the Library of Congress, has enabled online posting of documents for obtaining a copyright. Creators can establish an account using Login.gov. They can pay the recall fees through Pay.gov and track their application status online. The Enterprise Copyright System goes public after a testing period that started in 2020. Mailing in paper is still possible, but the Copyright Office recommends online.
- The Bureau of Prisons must pay $300,000 in a discrimination settlement. The American Federation of Government Employees said BOP prison wardens in Mississippi intentionally discriminated against a local union president. BOP must compensate Cydnee Price for over 1,000 hours of union work she completed on her own time. AFGE said federal wardens prohibited Price from working entirely on official time to perform union work, although the previous union president did not receive the same treatment. Price is the first Black woman to serve as a chapter president for a federal correctional center.
- The Defense Department is encouraging service members at risk for Monkeypox to get vaccinated. The World Health Organization officially declared Monkeypox a health emergency last week. The Defense Department is taking steps to ensure service members know how to stay safe. There is an approved vaccine within the US, however supplies are limited. DoD is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on ensuring service members have access to the vaccine within 24 to 48 hours. DoD said service members should seek medical care immediately if they believe they were in close contact with someone who is infected. Monkeypox spreads through bodily fluids, rashes and through respiratory droplets.
- Lawmakers are shining a spotlight on the Coast Guard’s troubled transition to a new financial management system. The Senate Appropriations Committee is calling on Department of Homeland Security officials to explain payment delays and cost overruns after the Coast Guard switched to a new DHS financial management system. The Coast Guard announced the official transition to the system in January. But technical delays quickly led to a backlog of payments for contractor invoices, permanent change-of-station claims, and other charges. The appropriation committee is directing a briefing on the Coast Guard delays, as well as DHS’ overarching strategy for financial systems modernization.
- The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is in line for another budget increase. The Senate Appropriations Committee’s 2023 Homeland Security spending bill includes $2.9 billion for CISA. That’s $334 million more than CISA’s current budget. The Senate committee’s bill would increase funding for cyber threat hunting and several other CISA programs.
- Most military retirees in DoD’s TRICARE system will soon pay for their health premiums out of their regular paychecks. Paying by allotment has been optional until now, but Congress sought to make it mandatory as part of the 2020 Defense authorization bill. The new rule is finally going into effect today and once fully implemented, DoD said it expects to save about $3 million a year, because it will no longer have to cover the bank processing fees for retirees, who currently pay with credit cards.
- The Senate Special Committee on Aging is looking into the accessibility of federal websites for seniors and people with disabilities. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), the committee’s chairman, called on the Department of Veterans Affairs to improve digital services for disabled veterans. He’s also urging the Justice Department to restart governmentwide reports evaluating the accessibility of federal technology. DOJ has not issued an accessibility evaluation report since 2012, despite a requirement that the agency complete them every two years.
- The Senate’s bill funding the military would abolish the Hyde amendment and expand abortion access for service members. The Hyde amendment bans abortions by federal entities except in cases of rape, incest or potential harm to the pregnant mother. If passed, the bill would significantly change how service members receive abortion care. Since Roe v. Wade was overturned, some service members have been grappling with travel and financial issues when seeking an abortion.
- Pay day is going to be twice a month — the first and 15th — for all active duty soldiers starting on Oct. 1. The new standard is part of the Army’s effort to move to the Integrated Pay and Personnel System. While the change will impact the number of times soldiers get paid each month, it will not change their total monthly compensation. Soldiers switching to semi-monthly are not going to miss a payment or have to stretch their money out because of the switch.
- Monthly returns on nearly all Thrift Savings Plan stock and Lifecycle funds rose in July. The TSP bounced back after a June slump. The small cap stock index “S fund” had the biggest improvement since June. It increased by 18.27 percentage points. The government securities-backed “G fund” was the only fund that declined. It dropped slightly from 0.29% in June to 0.26% in July. The L Income fund had the smallest monthly increase. It grew from -1.60% in June to 2.21% in July. All funds finished in the black for the first time since April 2021. (Federal News Network)