House passes bill to improve federal program management

The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.

  • The House passed a bill that aims to improve agencies’ program management abilities. Supporters of the Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act said it would help the government become more efficient. The bill, sponsored by Reps.Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), requires agencies to appoint program management specialists and engage with the private sector to find best practices. The legislation has already passed the Senate but is returning after the House made minor changes to it. (Rep. Todd Young)
  • The Office of Special Counsel is developing a new standard online form where federal employees can report whistleblower retaliation, Hatch Act complaints and other wrongdoing. It’ll be ready sometime this year. It’s part of OSC’s five-year strategic plan. OSC said it changed strategy as more federal employees turn to the agency. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Government Accountability Office reported 69 political appointees from 32 agencies burrowed in as career employees between 2010 and 2015. GAO said 17 of those conversions were done without approval from the Office of Personnel Management. GAO said OPM should work with agencies to verify their numbers on appointee conversions. (Government Accountability Office)
  • Senior leaders with the Air Force revealed 13 new diversity and inclusion initiatives, as part of the branch’s effort to attract and retain a more diverse workforce. Among the steps included in the plan are establishing an Air Force Human Capital Analytics Office, building a more diverse recruiting force, encouraging female and minority service members to focus on career fields that lack diversity, as well as requiring at least one diverse airman being considered when there is an opening in a key military developmental position. (Air Force)
  • The Navy said it wants its enlisted personnel to have more flexibility to move from job to job and location to location, so it’s getting rid of the “ratings” system it’s used since the country’s inception. Navy Specialty Codes will replace titles like boatswains’ mate and gunners’ mate, and all enlisted personnel will be addressed by their rank, not their rate. The decision has caused something of an uproar on the Navy’s official social media accounts, including from many current and former sailors who believe the service is upending centuries of pride and history for no good reason. (Federal News Radio)
  • The General Services Administration is taking another step toward open and connected government. It launched the U.S. Data Federation, which GSA said will support governmentwide data standardization and data federation initiatives. One way it aims to do that is identifying reusable tools for data federation. GSA said it hopes to build off the success of data.gov. (General Services Administration)
  • The Office of Federal Procurement Policy is taking yet another step to institutionalize category management. In one of her last acts as OFPP administrator, Anne Rung said the administration will release a draft category management circular for public comment this week. Rung’s last day as OFPP administrator was Sept. 30. She said agencies have saved more than $2 billion during her two-year tenure, and are on track to save a total of $3.5 billion by next year through category management. (The White House)
  • A congressional scorecard from the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association offers the federal workforce a glimpse at voting records ahead of the November election. It includes the 2015 and 2016 voting records of all members of Congress and the presidential candidates, focusing on 15 bills NARFE says are important to federal employees. (National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association)
  • The presidential candidates need to stick the landing when it comes to transitioning into the Oval Office. Workers from previous transitions, say the hardest part is moving from a campaign to governance. In order to do that, transition teams need clear objectives, communication with government employees and appoint White House staff and Cabinet simultaneously. (National Press Club)