It’s unclear exactly when Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz will leave office, but his departure as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committees opens the door to a variety of new candidates, who have the opportunity to shift the committee’s focus back to issues of federal and financial management and government efficiency.
The Health and Human Services Department will soon achieve initial operating capability on the Health Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (HCCIC). It’s modeled after the Homeland Security Department’s own NCCIC, a public-private partnership that disseminates information and best practices on cyber risks.
Though federal management experts like much of what they see in the Office of Management and Budget’s reorganization and restructuring plan, they say the White House needs to craft a more positive message to sell their ideas to the federal workforce.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said he’s not surprised by the low morale his workforce has felt for years. In his first public speech since becoming secretary, Kelly offered a glimpse of his management and leadership style and said lawmakers should “shut up and support the men and women on the front lines.”
Federal employees offered mixed reviews of the Office of Management and Budget’s new plan to reorganize and restructure the federal government and workforce. Meanwhile, more than 40 percent of respondents to an exclusive Federal News Radio survey said morale has significantly decreased at their agencies since the beginning of the new administration.
The Office of Management and Budget is asking agencies to come up with new performance management plans by June 30. Human capital experts say the OMB guidance prompts agencies to consider several important questions but focuses too heavily on addressing poor performers, and not enough on recruiting and retaining top employees.
The Veterans Affairs Department soft-launched a new online tool that lets veterans search for VA medical facilities and their average wait times within a specific mile radius. VA said it’s a significant step in showing accountability and transparency efforts three years after wait time scandals in Phoenix shook up the agency’s leadership and organization.
The Office of Management and Budget’s plan to reorganize the government and restructure the federal workforce isn’t a direct threat to agency employees, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney said. The Trump administration sees it as a way to finally recognize what Mulvaney describes as a deep-seated frustration in the federal workforce: top performers are rarely rewarded for their work, while poor-performers escape with few consequences.
Employee engagement efforts at the Securities and Exchange Commission have taken off in the past two years, Lacey Dingman, SEC chief human capital officer, said in an interview. SEC has risen from 27th to 6th among mid-sized agencies in the past five years on the Partnership for Public Service’s Best Places to Work rankings.
Current and former counterintelligence officials say there is no known evidence so far that a victim of the Office of Personnel Management’s cyber breaches has been specifically targeted. Instead, the public’s loss of trust in OPM and government as a whole has been the biggest damage done after the breaches.
The Office of Personnel Management unveiled another round of updates to USAJobs.gov, the federal jobs portal that long left applicants, agency human resource specialists and chief human capital officers frustrated with the hiring process. It’s part of OPM’s ongoing and iterative efforts to improve the user and agency experience with USAJobs.
Homeland Security Department management said they’re now requiring documentation and life cycle cost estimations for all major acquisition programs. It’s a big step for DHS. But while the Government Accountability Office says DHS has improved, it needs to focus on the details.
Congress is once again examining the results of the latest Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. Lawmakers said they’re encouraged by the progress the Homeland Security Department has made, despite its continued last-place ranking.
Veterans Affairs Department employees are now answering 99.8 percent of veterans’ calls to the VA crisis hotline, and fewer than 1 percent of those calls are rolling over to backup centers. But the VA Inspector General and lawmakers still see some troubling challenges.
Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) asked that the Government Accountability Office to conduct a full review of President Donald Trump’s temporary hiring freeze. Citing GAO’s past study of previous hiring freezes, both senators said they’re concerned the current freeze isn’t saving government more money and is prompting more agency inefficiencies.