News

Feds who use pot could see jobs go up in smoke, says OPM

Feds indulging in marijuana – even in places where it's legal, such as Washington, D.C. – could lose their jobs if they're caught, said the Office of Personnel Management in a May 26 memo.

OMB says feds working in 13 cities will see pay increases in 2016

Locality pay for federal workers in 13 cities across the country will increase based on labor market conditions, Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director Beth Cobert told members of the American Federation of Government Employees in a meeting last week.

Administration moves ahead with federal contractor labor law guidance; PSC pushes back

The Obama administration proposed guidance that requires prospective contractors to disclose labor law violations from the past three years before they can get a contract. But a contractor advocacy group isn't happy about it.

GAO: DoD should heed the ghost of sequestration past

The Defense Department should document and assess the lessons it learned from deep, sequestration-related budget cuts in fiscal 2013, because those cuts could come back in fiscal 2016, says a May 27 Government Accountability Office report.

PRC checks its authority, declines to hear contracted post office closure appeal

The Postal Regulatory Commission, a commission independent of the Postal Service that acts as its regulatory agency on matter such as mail rate increases, recently ruled that it would not hear an appeal on the closure of a rural Idaho post office, despite the fact that it technically has oversight of the facilities.

GAO: USPS needs to establish management responsibilities for negotiated service contracts

The Postal Service hasn't established management's responsibilities for overseeing customized mail pricing contracts with companies, says a recently released Government Accountability Office report.

HHS hasn't provided guidance for adding veterinarians to its workforce, GAO says

While the Agriculture Department has made sure its component agencies include veterinarians in its workforce, the Health and Human Services Department hasn't done the same, says a May 26 Government Accountability Office report.

Senate approves bill to make it easier for vets to seek private medical care

The Senate approved a bill Friday that would give veterans easier access to private doctors if they can't get the same care from Veterans Affairs Department physicians.

USPS and employee union still working on new employee contract

The Postal Service and its employee union are struggling to reach a consensus on pay and benefits for USPS employees' new contracts. The American Postal Workers Union said in a May 21 statement that the biggest roadblock comes with Postal Service's demands for reduced benefits and a lower pay scale.

USPS CFO: We need new vehicles

The Postal Service has delayed updating its vehicle fleet for nearly a decade due to lack of funds, but it can't be put off any longer, Postal Service Chief Financial Officer Joe Corbett told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in a May 21 meeting.

Congress begrudgingly hands out more money to finish Denver VA facility after massive overruns

Both chambers of Congress last week passed a bill that would authorize more funds to finish construction on a highly troubled Veterans Affairs Department medical center in Denver.

USPS halts plan to consolidate and close processing facilities

The Postal Service has suspended its plans to consolidate or close processing facilities in 2015. According to documents on the USPS website, the closures and consolidations dates of all plants were changed from 2015 to "to be determined," with the exception of three plants in Asheville, N.C., Houston, Texas and Queens, N.Y.

Government looks to deliver digital services around major life events

The government should be building its digital services through an approach that takes into account ways to help with major life events including colleges and having children, says a May 15 DigitalGov blog post. "Designing services to be responsive to be life events that drive public needs is a powerful way to deliver citizen-centered value," the blog post says.

OPM looks to improve the entire hiring experience, not just USAJobs

The Office of Personnel Management's rollout of the new USAJobs website will not come in one big launch, but rather a series of rollouts that constantly improve the user experience throughout the hiring process, said OPM's Innovation Lab Director Stephanie Wade at the May 21 DigitalGov Summit.

IG: USPS could make more than $1B annually by offering financial services to underserved communities

The Postal Service inspector general is again pushing the agency to consider offering banking options at post offices in communities underserved by financial institutions, saying the agency could make more than $1 billion in annual revenue.

IG: DoD footed the bill for nearly $1M of employees' personal casino and strip club purchases

Defense Department employees and military members used their government-issued charge cards to spend more than $1 million in personal expenses at casinos and strip clubs, says a May 19 DoD inspector general report.

New bill would create TSP fund focused on gender-diverse companies

Representative Don Beyer (D-Va.), introduced a bill Wednesday that would allow federal workers to choose to invest in businesses that have women in leadership through their Thrift Savings Plan retirement fund.

USPS should renegotiate some building leases in the Eastern Area, IG says

The Postal Service could save millions annually by renegotiating leases for 77 buildings in the agency's Eastern Area, says a May 12 USPS inspector general report. USPS leases more than 23,000 buildings nationwide, consisting of about 79 million interior square feet. It pays more than $800 million annually to lease those properties, the report says.

Air Force spent $14B on risky contracts over the last 5 fiscal years, GAO says

The Air Force spent $14 billion over the last five fiscal years on contracts to meet emergency needs. Such contracts are executed before the final terms are settled, making them considerably risky, says a May 19 Government Accountability Office report.

GAO: Cost of Kabul embassy expansion continues to rise into the billions

The State Department has already invested billions of dollars in the expansion of its embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan since 2002 and the spending continues to rise because the agency hasn't properly assessed the risk and cost of the project, says a May 19 Government Accountability Office report.