News

EEOC: Diversity in federal workforce remained unchanged from fiscal 2010 to 2011

According to the latest data for fiscal 2011, there were more than 2.8 million federal workers across the country and worldwide. Of the total federal workforce, 56.19 percent were men and 43.81 percent were women. The number of women in the federal workforce dipped slightly from almost 44 percent in fiscal 2010 after a period of rising female employment.

USPS moves ahead on plant consolidations, lawmakers and unions speak out

The Postal Service will move ahead with its consolidation of processing facilities after the second phase of the project was postponed earlier this year despite postal unions and some lawmakers coming out against the plan. The Postal Service inspector general, who is looking into whether the consolidation makes sense, says USPS will close (pdf) up to 82 mail processing facilities starting in January 2015, a year after the agency postponed the closings.

USPS OIG plans to better leverage digital services

The Postal Service inspector general plans to push digital services and modernization at its office to better investigate and audit the USPS, the inspector general's five year plan says. In its fiscal 2014 to 2018 strategic plan (pdf), the USPS IG laid out its vision for recommendations its plans to explore for the Postal Service.

Report: Impact of advocate to enhance contract competition across Postal Service unclear

An internal watchdog said it couldn't determine the impact of a U.S. Postal Service position whose job is to promote greater contract competition across the agency because no metrics were developed to measure the position's performance.

McDonald: VA needs unprecedented cultural change

Fixing the Veterans Affairs Department will take an unprecedented culture change in the agency, but it will give the VA an opportunity to overhaul the failing system, newly-confirmed VA Secretary Robert McDonald said at an Aug. 13 speech at the AMVETS National Conference in Memphis, Tennessee. McDonald laid out the major problems facing the VA, including veterans waiting too long for care, performance metrics becoming an end in themselves, poor leadership, no accountability for poor performing managers and an antiquated scheduling system.

CBO: No sequestration cuts needed for rest of fiscal year

The fiscal 2014 omnibus appropriations bill that President Obama signed in December contained enough spending cuts to avoid across-the-board sequestration cuts for the rest of the fiscal year, an Aug. 15 Congressional Budget Office report says. The CBO is required to report on sequestration cuts in January and August of each year. Minor adjustments to the budget caps have been made since the January report, but CBO says its assessment remains the same.

Fifty senators call for USPS to hold off on closing processing plants

Fifty senators on both sides of the aisle called for a one-year hold on the Postal Service's plans to shut down dozens of mail processing plants and cut thousands of positions in an Aug. 14 letter to appropriations leaders. They say it would burden local communities and the economy.

Per diems stay the same for traveling feds

Per diem rates for federal workers won't change in fiscal 2015, according to an Aug. 13 General Services Administration notice published in the Federal Register. The standard lodging per diem rate will remain at $83 and meals and incidental expense tiers, ranging from $46 to $71, also remain unchanged.

IG: USPS needs to better leverage assets to serve the government

By leveraging digital infrastructure, address databases and delivery networks, the Postal Service could do a better job of serving the government and reducing agency costs, an Aug. 11 USPS inspector general report from a roundtable discussion says.

Gallup: Americans say gov't biggest problem facing country, overwhelmingly disapprove of Congress

Government is the most important problem to Americans right now and has been for most of the year, a Gallup poll released Aug. 13 says. About 18 percent of Americans say government is the biggest problem while 15 percent maintain it's immigration, the poll says. About 14 percent say the economy is their top worry.

Government transparency groups call for CIA director's resignation

About 20 government transparency groups have called for the resignation of Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan citing abuses of power that include obstructing and spying on a Senate committee that was investigating the CIA's use of torture.

NASA support specialists overwhelmingly vote to join union

More than 300 NASA professional support specialists voted Aug. 12 to join the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers union, an IFPTE statement says. Professional support specialists include budget analysts, secretaries, administrative specialists and policy analysts.

GAO: DoD isn't plugging cost-saving programs to reduce electricity consumption

The Defense Department isn't promoting utility programs that would reduce electricity use in its buildings during peak hours, a recently released July 11 Government Accountability Office report says. Private electric grid operators offer demand-response programs that provide customers with financial incentives to reduce power use during periods of peak demand, the report says.

IG: Reduced SSA field office hours hurt customer service

The public was unaware of and personally affected by the reduced hours of Social Security Administration reduced field office hours, an Aug. 7 SSA inspector general report says. Field offices are SSA's primary point of face-to-face contact with the public, the report says. But in August 2011, SSA began closing those offices 30 minutes early each day.

OPM seeks opinions on special general schedule pay rates

The Office of Personnel Management is soliciting opinions on whether to modify special rates for some General Schedule employees. OPM Director Katherine Archuleta sent out a memo to agency chief human capital officers asking for data on GS employees paid using a special rate.

GAO: EPA not providing clear information about costs, benefits of regulatory decisions

The Environmental Protection Agency doesn't always provide clear information about its cost-benefit analyses underlying its regulatory decisions, the investigative arm of Congress said in a recent report.

WaPo: Commerce Department teleworkers lied about hours worked

The Patent and Trademark Office has been long heralded as one of the best teleworking agencies in the federal government, but that image has been shattered in the last two weeks. At the end of July, the Commerce Department inspector general found that many paralegal specialists at the PTO "were frequently paid to do nothing". The practice persisted over several years even as a backlog of appeals cases grew during that time.

GSA awards 95 percent of OS3 contracts

The General Services Administration has awarded 95 percent of its contracts for the third iteration of the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative for Office Supplies, an Aug. 12 GSA statement says. GSA issued 21 FSSI OS3 contracts, with 20 of them going to small businesses and there's potential for more small business contracts pending further review, the emailed statement says.

IG: USPS should rescind its facilities contract delegation

The Postal Service should rescind its facilities contract delegation because the contracting officers aren't required to meet professional qualifications or establish competition requirements, an Aug. 5 USPS inspector general report says. USPS's Supply Management office is responsible for approving contracts to acquire goods and services, but they can delegate contracting authority to personnel outside of Supply Management, the report says.

GAO: Most agencies still not providing complete data on contractors' past performance

Although their level of compliance has improved over the last year, most federal agencies still haven't met established governmentwide targets for providing complete, timely and accurate information on contractors' past performance, congressional investigators found.