News

GSA: Small businesses benefitting from reverse auctions

Taxpayers and small businesses are benefitting from the ReverseAuctions program, the General Services Administration said. In fiscal 2014, 85 percent of auctions awarded through the initiative went to small businesses even though 60 percent was set aside for them, and overall, reverse auctions generated 23 percent savings off standard contract price, an Oct. 21 blog post says.

GAO partially upholds bid protest against embattled security clearance contractor

Security clearance contractor USIS suffered another in a series of setbacks Monday when the Government Accountability Office partially upheld a bid protest that removes the company from a contract it was given by the Homeland Security Department. DHS had awarded a $210 million Field Office Support Services contract to USIS in July after the Office of Personnel Management said it wouldn't do business with the company anymore.

GSA: Laptop theft isn't a problem

After an inspector general report criticized the General Services Administration's open office plan as susceptible to theft, the GSA says stolen property isn't a problem. In calendar year 2014 there were only five laptops that have gone missing at the entire GSA either through theft or loss, GSA Spokeswoman Jackeline Stewart says.

With few exceptions, NASA largely complying with premium travel policies, IG finds

Except for a handful of instances, an internal audit has found that most NASA first- and business-class travel was properly authorized and complied with federal government policy. Still, the inspector general said the agency can improve compliance with travel policy and the accuracy of travel reports submitted to the General Services Administration.

GSA IG: Open employee workspaces vulnerable to theft

The open floor plans in the General Services Administration's headquarters make employees' work spaces vulnerable to theft, the agency's inspector general says in an Oct. 16 report.

Sequestration resulted in deep cuts to DoD procurement spending, report says

The Defense Department has cut contracting dollars by 16 percent in 2013 from the prior year as a result of sequestration, according to a recent report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. DoD's budget was cut by about 8 percent in 2013, from 2012, and spending on procurement took the brunt of the hit, the Oct. 15 report says.

Group tackles massive, governmentwide FOIA review

A subcommittee of the Freedom of Information Act Advisory Committee is undertaking a massive information gathering project to survey the current state of FOIA oversight, and review what problems have been identified and corrective actions taken over the past 10 years.

Thousands of employees on paid administrative leave costing government millions

Thousands of federal employees are being kept on administrative leave while they await rulings on misconduct, an Oct. 17 Government Accountability Office report says. Over a three years period that the GAO analyzed, more than 57,000 federal workers were place on administrative leave for at least a month.

IG finds significant weaknesses in EPA's oversight of Clean Water Act fee collections

The Environmental Protection Agency inspector general found significant weaknesses in EPA's oversight of state and local fee collections for Clean Air Act permits. IG finds annual Title V program expenses often exceeded Title V revenues in report released Oct. 20.

Survey: VA employees dissatisfied with senior executives

Employees at the Veterans Affairs Department are less satisfied with their senior executives than they were last year, the VA portion of the 2014 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey says. Though the governmentwide results haven't been released, some agencies are publishing their individual results.

OPM final rule will give temp employees health benefits

Some temporary and seasonal federal workers will be eligible for health insurance starting in January, says an Oct. 17 Office of Personnel Management final rule. The final rule expands the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program to temporary employees who are scheduled to work at least 130 hours a month and end up working at least 90 days throughout the year.

OPM pushes agencies to consider hiring long-term unemployed

The Office of Personnel Management is pushing agencies to hire the long-term unemployed. In an Oct. 14 statement, OPM Director Katherine Archuleta said the government must serve as a model for employers and not discriminate against candidates who have been unemployed for more than six months.

IG: VA cleared in Marine death

The Veterans Affairs Department inspector general cleared a Minneapolis medical facility of wrongdoing after several troubling months at VA clinics across the country related to long wait times and patients being left off wait lists. Jordan Buisman, a 25-year-old ex-Marine, left military service because of complications from epilepsy and died Nov. 26 2012 – 24 days before the date he was scheduled to see a VA doctor about his condition, says an Oct. 10 statement from Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.).

IG: USPS hasn't analyzed impact of plant consolidation

The Postal Service hasn't analyzed the impact of closing and consolidating processing plants or informed stakeholders of changes to the consolidation plan, an Oct. 6 USPS inspector general memo says. USPS announced in August it would move ahead with the consolidation of processing facilities after the second phase of the project was postponed earlier this year.

Auditors detail purchase card abuse governmentwide

Federal workers have used government-issued purchase cards to buy thousands of dollars worth of food, salon services and gym memberships, federal auditors told a House subcommittee. This shows that abuse of government-issued purchase cards persists almost across the board despite regulations – most recently the Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act of 2012 – to ensure proper use, they said at an Oct. 14 hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's Government Operations Subcommittee.

VA procurement executive resigns over allegations of misconduct

The Veterans Affairs Department's number two contracting official, who allegedly funneled work to a Virginia contractor announced her retirement Tuesday, just more than two weeks after the allegations surfaced. Susan Taylor, Veterans Health Administration deputy procurement officer, said in an email to the VA that she would resign and retire effective Oct. 14 after 29 years of government service, an Oct. 15 Washington Post article says. Four of those years were spent at the VA.

Fiscal 2014 deficit falls to lowest level since 2008

The federal government ended fiscal 2014 with a $483 billion budget deficit, the White House announced Wednesday. That's $197 billion less than fiscal 2013 and $165 billion less than what the White House predicted for fiscal 2014. The numbers, which were announced by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan, came in far lower than the trillion dollar deficits the administration announced during the financial crisis at the beginning of President Obama's second term.

Survey: Federal agencies slow to take up convergence of technology and services

Federal agencies aren't embracing combined technology and services the way the private sector is, says an Oct. 14 joint Market Connections/Professional Services Council survey. Only about 20 percent of federal procurement workers said they would be procuring monitoring, infrastructure, software, communications and training on a consumption-based as a service model in the next year, the survey says.

DOD gets guidebook for shutting down programs

The Defense Acquisition University developed a guidebook to help managers terminate programs effectively ahead of possible calls for shutdowns due to budget constraints. In lieu of a formal shutdown process at DOD, the "Smart Shutdown Guidebook" (pdf) addresses the handling of personnel, technology and data preservation, and program security protection, for example.

Survey: Morale eroding at DoD

Civilian Defense Department employees are increasingly dissatisfied with their jobs with approval ratings dropping in more than half of the categories on the DoD portion of the governmentwide Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey administered by the Office of Personnel Management. Though the full report for all agencies has yet to be released, DoD posted its results (pdf) Tuesday.