News

VA depsec: 'Least worst alternative' for Denver construction fiasco is to pull from funds intended to lessen hospital wait times

The head of the Veterans Affairs Department wants to use funds allocated to help lessen hospital wait times for veterans to finish a medical center building project in Denver that is already $1 billion over budget.

Agencies gave SBA the wrong data for small business research contract spending

Most agencies submitted incorrect data about Small Business Innovation Research programs for fiscal 2013, so the Small Business Administration can't fully determine compliance with spending requirements for the programs, says an April 15 Government Accountability Office report.

Social 'share' buttons expand federal websites' reach, says social media manager

Federal agencies can boost online engagement if they properly use social media "share" buttons on pages of their website, says Sara Smith, social media strategist at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. 

House passes bill to deny federal contracts to tax delinquents, strikes down bill that would fire feds with tax debts

The House Wednesday passed a bill that would prohibit the federal government to award contracts or grants to corporations or individuals with seriously delinquent tax debt, but on the same day voted down a bill that would fire tax-delinquent federal workers. The contractor bill (H.R.1562) passed the House unanimously on April 15 on a motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill immediately.

Some DOT contracting officers not certified for high-dollar contracts

Nearly a quarter of Transportation Department contracting officers didn't comply with certification specifications when working on certain high dollar acquisitions, says an April 9 DOT inspector general report. In fiscal 2014, DOT obligated $2 billion on contracts.

Agencies can use applicant data to ensure women get slice of STEM grants, GAO says

Some science and technology agencies that manage federal grants could be using data collected on candidates to make sure women are getting an equal shake at the research money, says a recently released Government Accountability Office report.

NARA seeks comments on email records management program

The National Archives and Records Administration is soliciting comments on the implementation of a program to get agencies' email records in order. Back in October 2014, OMB issued guidance that supports a 2012 directive requiring agencies to manage permanent and temporary email records electronically by the end of 2016 and manage all permanent electronic records in an electronic format by the end of 2019, the recent solicitation for comments says.

GAO: Government spends billions of dollars on duplicative, wasteful programs

The federal government is losing billions of dollars to duplicative and wasteful programs, says an annual Government Accountability Office report meant to identify overlapping and underperforming federal programs.

Taxpayer Advocate: "I've never seen anything like this filing season on the phones"

The IRS is able to field fewer and fewer calls from taxpayers as the filing deadline approaches on April 15, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson said at a Brookings Institution event April 8.

Federal workers leave more than $88M in abandoned retirement accounts

Federal workers have left about $88.5 million in abandoned Thrift Savings Plan retirement accounts, according to Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board statistics. FRTIB regulations require participants who have not yet made a withdrawal choice by age 70 1/2 to make a withdrawal choice, FRTIB spokeswoman Kim Weaver said in an email.

USPS rebounding from financial crisis, but needs to do more to goose revenue

Reports of the Postal Service foundering into financial crisis abound, but the agency's auditor says things are turning around and USPS can help that process along. 

IG: SSA should rethink handing out English fluency-related disability benefits to Puerto Ricans

The Social Security Administration inspector general is questioning the SSA policy that Puerto Rican residents qualify for disability benefits because they lack fluency in Spanish, says a recent SSA OIG report. SSA rules say that U.S. citizens who don't speak English are less employable regardless of education or experience and because of that qualify for disability benefits.

TSP millionaires total in the thousands, statistics show

More than 4,000 federal workers have account balances of $1 million or more in their Thrift Savings Plan accounts, according to statistics from the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.

Open government group calls for firing of Commerce IG Todd Zinser

More calls are coming in for Commerce Department Inspector General Todd Zinser to be fired, this time coming from the open government advocacy group Project on Government Oversight. "Through his actions both before his appointment as IG and since, Mr. Zinser has proven that he is not fit for the position," a letter from POGO says.

DoD launches next iteration of acquisition initiative focusing on cybersecurity

The Defense Department launched its third version of the Better Buying Power initiative last week focusing on cybersecurity and technology acquisition. "Better Buying Power 3.0 really is animated by an urgent concern of ours, and that is what we see to be a steady erosion of our technological superiority that we have relied upon for so long in all of our defense strategies," said Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work at an April 9 DoD press conference.

GSA moves forward with overhaul of Multiple Award Schedules

The General Services Administration is moving forward with its plan to overhaul the Multiple Award Schedules, putting into action recommendations from the agency's 2010 Multiple Award Schedule Advisory Panel, says an April 13 blog post by GSA Senior Procurement Executive Jeffrey Koses.

GSA launches new iteration of Acquisition.gov, promises more user-friendly experience

The General Services Administration has launched its new iteration of the Acquisition.gov website that it says will be a more comprehensive, user-friendly website for contracting officers. "Web designers will tell you that it's important for a website to look like someone lives there, that it's not a smattering of links and pages that look as if no one is home," says an April 13 GSA statement.

Report: Census Bureau guard dead; Police apprehend suspect in shootout

A Census Bureau security guard was killed at the agency's headquarters in Suitland, Md. Thursday evening after a woman was abducted in D.C. Starting at 5:30 p.m., a man forced a woman into a green Honda at 3rd and T Streets NE, according to an April 9 Washington Post article.

EEOC rules in favor of transgender woman discriminated against by Army

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on April 1 ordered the Army to pay out damages to a transgender worker who was refused access to the restroom that matched her gender identity and called her by her former name, according to the Transgender Law Center who obtained the ruling.

Order banning federal contractor LGBT workplace discrimination goes into effect

An executive order banning federal contractors from workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers went into effect April 8.