• House passes long-awaited VA accountability bill

    The House will pass the VA Accountability First and Whistleblower Protection Act, clearing the way for the President to sign the bill later this week. Some lawmakers and veterans service organizations see the bill’s passage as a major win after years of debate over new accountability legislation. But federal employee groups say the bill would do more harm than good.

  • DoJ sees familiar constitutionality challenges in VA accountability bill

    Both the Veterans Affairs and Justice departments believe they can easily resolve some concerns with the constitutionality of the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection. DoJ is concerned, however, that VA will run into the same issues that ultimately rendered a controversial provision on firing senior executives unconstitutional.

  • Federal employee groups say Senate VA bill does little to tackle entrenched accountability problems

    The Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, which senators introduced last week, may have more momentum than previous bills. It now has 12 co-sponsors, including four Democrats and VA Secretary David Shulkin himself. Yet some federal employee groups and experts question whether the new bill has the teeth to truly tackle long entrenched cultural problems at the department.

  • Senate accountability bill eliminates MSPB appeal rights for VA senior executives

    Members of the Senate have reached a long awaited agreement on new accountability procedures for senior executives and employees within the Veterans Affairs Department. A bipartisan group of senators introduced the Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act Thursday morning. It would change current disciplinary appeals rights for both SES and rank-and-file employees.

  • Senate subcommittee asking hard questions on civil service reform this year

    Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), the ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, said she and subcommittee and Chairman James Lankford (R-Okla) will make civil service reform a major focus this year. She and Lankford are looking for ideas that attack the root causes of some of the most challenging problems facing the federal workforce.

  • Court rules key VA SES firing and appeals authority unconstitutional

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld an appeal from Sharon Helman, the former director of the beleaguered Veterans Affairs medical center in Phoenix, Arizona, who was fired in 2014. The court said a key provision that lets VA more quickly fire and discipline senior executives is unconstitutional. The Merit Systems Protection Board will review the original decision an administrative judge made regarding Helman’s removal.

  • White House ends hiring freeze, mandates workforce, mission restructuring

    Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney sent a memo to agency leaders outlining a series of long and short term actions agencies need to take around reducing the number of employees, improving how they measure employee performance and restructure their mission areas.

  • 5 necessary actions by SESers

    Dr. David Paschane, an organizational architect with Aplin Partners, offers advice for how Senior Executive Service members can prepare for new political appointees.

  • Is a new shared service in the works for learning management systems?

    Karlease Kelly, the chief learning officer at the Agriculture Department and the chairwoman of the federal Chief Learning Officer’s Council, said applying shared services to agency LMSs could bring some standardization in the services and the cost to the government.

  • SES modernization plan should include risks, on and off ramps, roles for millennials

    The senior executive service faces an unprecedented time where criticism is rampant, the environment is fast-paced and the retirement bubble teeters on popping.

  • No word yet on feds’ pay in president’s 2018 budget blueprint

    President Donald Trump offered a first look at his upcoming management agenda in the 2018 budget blueprint. The agenda will focus on eliminating agency reporting requirements on IT, acquisition, human capital and real property and letting “managers manage.” It also suggests the budget and reorganization executive order initiatives will drive future agency workforce cuts.

  • OPM grants 3 more hiring freeze exemptions

    The Office of Personnel Management granted additional exemptions to the President’s temporary hiring freeze. OPM and the Office of Management and Budget gave agencies permission to ask for others if they fall outside of the administration’s original exemption guidance.

  • Senate committee kicks off series of hearings on civil service reform

    The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs’ federal workforce subcommittee said it’s on a fact-finding mission this year. Subcommittee Chairman James Lankford (R-Okla.) said he wants to hear from federal managers about the existing authorities and processes that make their jobs more difficult.

  • Some feds miss out on pay raise as salary compression worsens

    Most people expect a raise when they get a promotion. But for some feds in 2017, thanks to salary compression, that’s not the case.