News

VA takes first step in implementing agency wide reform

The Veterans Affairs Department is taking the first steps in an agency wide initiative to overhaul the way the agency interacts with its veterans. The program, called MyVA aims to reform the way the VA interacts internally and with the veterans it serves, said Bob Schneider, a former VA deputy assistant secretary who is heading up the MyVA implementation task force, in a Jan. 26 press call.

GAO: DOL didn't say how Job Corps should make budget cuts

The Labor Department didn't properly lay out how its Job Corps program should implement millions of dollars in budget cuts and transfers in 2011 and 2012, says a Jan. 22 Government Accountability Office report.

Miller bill would give VA authority to reduce executive pensions

The head of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee introduced a bill Thursday that would allow the VA secretary to reduce an SES employee's retirement pension upon conviction of a crime that influenced their work performance, says a Jan. 22 statement from HVAC chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.).

PSC: Agencies not taking advantage of training young acquisition workers

Agencies have been presented with the chance to make improvements to the acquisition workforce, but they have to move quickly before the new hires fall into step with the older ideas about federal procurement, a new report says.

Pew poll: Public expresses favorable opinion of most agencies

Even though overall trust in the government is near historic lows, the public expressed favorable views toward the individual agencies in a Jan. 22 Pew Research Center poll. Wide majorities of people express favorable views of such government agencies as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NASA and the Defense Department.

GSA doesn't know how many employees telework, says IG

The General Services Administration doesn't know how many virtual employees it has and many telework arrangements are not fully approved, according to the GSA Office of Inspector General.

GAO: DoD doesn't know if it's staffing secretary offices at the right levels

The Defense Department doesn't know if it employs the appropriate number of workers at headquarters because it doesn't determine personnel requirements as part of a systematic process and procedures aren't in place to make sure the department assesses its personnel needs periodically, says a Jan. 21 Government Accountability report.

Bill would save agencies $35B by reducing federal workforce

Republican lawmakers from Wyoming and South Carolina introduced a bill Tuesday that would save the government $35 billion by cutting the federal workforce through attrition.

OSC finds relief for 4 more VA whistleblowers

The Office of Special Counsel says it has secured corrective actions for four whistleblowers who were retaliated against when they revealed information about recent Veterans Affairs Administration problems, the OSC says in a Jan. 20 statement. Mark Tello, a VA nursing assistant, Richard Hill, a VA physician, Rachael Hogan, a VA registered nurse and Coleen Elmers, a VA nurse manager all received relief from the OSC ruling.

Supreme Court rules in favor of DHS whistleblower

The Supreme Court decided Wednesday that a former air marshal who revealed sensitive information to the media about some air marshal's not being on flights is able to seek protection under whistleblower rights laws. The Homeland Security Department had been seeking to overrule an appeals court ruling that sided with whistleblower Robert MacLean who was fired in 2003, but the court voted 7-2 to uphold the appeals court ruling.

GSA begins to roll out SmartPay payment system

The General Services Administration began rolling out its new governmentwide commercial payment system, says a Jan. 21 GSA statement. GSA will begin issuing Chip & PIN-enabled charge cards in sometime January, the statement says, and comes as a result of an Oct. 17, 2014 executive order meant to improve the security of consumer financial transactions.

DOJ: Defense contractor, Navy officer plead guilty to bribery in long-running corruption scheme

A Singapore-based defense contractor and its top executive last week pleaded guilty to federal bribery and fraud charges in a massive scandal involving tens of millions of dollars and "scores" of Navy officials.

SOTU: Obama will veto any bills that threaten his affordable healthcare and immigration policies

President Obama once again flexed his executive muscles in his penultimate State of the Union speech Tuesday night, though not through promises of executive orders like he did last year. This year Obama promised to veto any bills that would undo the his healthcare and immigration policies.

Two DoD employees milk Army for recruitment bonuses through bogus website

Two Defense Department employees perpetrated a scheme to collect recruiting bonuses through a fake Army website, and though the DoD found out about it, both continue to work for the department, says a Jan. 20 statement by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). McCaskill says a retired Army sergeant and his wife, who both work for the DoD, set up a website called OfficialArmy.com that looked like an actual Army website.

SIGAR oversight results in more than $1B in savings, says report

Recommendations from audits conducted by the Defense Department's Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction allowed an estimated $1.1 billion to be put to better use and the sustainment or recovery of more than $11.1 million, according to a Jan. 20 report from the watchdog.

APWU calls for expanded financial services at post offices

A coalition of organizations including the American Postal Workers Union are calling for the Postal Service to expand its financial services in underserved neighborhoods, says a Jan. 19 APWU statement. APWU says millions of working people, many of them minorities, don't have access to affordable financial services and because of that have to rely on predatory check-cashing companies and payday lenders.

Air Force wants a round of BRAC to make up for deflated budget

The Air Force plans to ask Congress again this year to let it close some bases and retire aging aircraft, even though Congress has continually rejected those requests over the last few years. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told reporters in a Jan. 15 press conference that due to tight budgets, the service will need to make adjustments elsewhere when it proposes its fiscal 2016 budget request in the coming months.

DOI: Chippewa Cree retaliated against whistleblower claiming ARRA funds mismanagement

The Chippewa Cree Tribe retaliated against a whistleblower who claimed the tribe was mismanaging funds given them by the government under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, says a Jan. 12 Interior Department inspector general statement.

House OKs bill requiring agencies to implement rules in cheapest possible way

The House Jan. 13 passed a bill by a 250-175 vote that would require agencies to choose the least costly way to implement new rules, but President Obama has signaled that he would veto it.

Tangherlini stepping down next month as GSA administrator; Roth becomes acting head

The General Services Administration announced Jan. 15 that GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini will leave the agency next month. His last day is Feb. 13, but GSA didn't give a reason why he's leaving or where he's going next.