Bill in Congress would tighten rules around LPTA use

  • Two lawmakers are trying to prevent the improper use of lowest-price technically acceptable (LPTA) for federal procurements. Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Don Beyer (D-Va.) introduced the Promoting Value Based Procurement Act. The bill would apply to provisions in the 2017 Defense Authorization Act that limit LPTA for professional services in the Defense Department to civilian agencies. The new bill would apply the same five criteria to civilian agencies’ procurements, including a justification from the contracting officer. (Congress.gov)
  • The lead negotiator for early buyouts and retirement for EPA employees wants workers to weigh their VERA/VSIP options carefully. Gary Morton, a negotiator with the American Federation of Government Employees, said to make sure retirement paperwork is submitted sooner rather than later when making a decision. EPA aims to offer more than 1,200 employees buyout or retirement options. (Federal News Radio)
  • Two Virginia Democrats demand answers from the Office of Personnel Management about its plans to address rising Federal Long Term Care premiums. Reps. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) asked OPM for an update on its plan to better administer the program. They’re following up from a November hearing, in which lawmakers grilled OPM for the way it administered the program. Premiums rose by as much as 126 percent for some participants, starting last year. (Federal News Radio)
  • President Donald Trump signed the Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act. The bill eliminates the Merit Systems Protection Board as an avenue for VA senior executives to appeal disciplinary actions. It also lowers the burden of proof to fire federal employees and shortens the time they have to appeal such decisions. The accountability act earned support from Democrats and veterans service organizations. (Federal News Radio)
  • The General Services Administration’s inspector general found former Administrator Denise Turner Roth retaliated against a whistleblower. GSA’s IG released a notice saying Roth made statements and took actions that threatened the complainant with transfer to another position. The IG also said Roth significantly changed the whistleblower’s job responsibilities. Industry sources confirm the whistleblower is outgoing Federal Acquisition Service Commissioner Tom Sharpe. Sources said Sharpe alerted Roth, GSA’s general counsel and other executives about his concerns about the use of the multi-billion dollar Acquisition Services Fund by the Technology Transformation Service. The case has been referred to the Office of Special Counsel. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Supreme Court has made it easier for some federal employees to take their grievances to court. In a seven-to-two opinion, the Court ruled that employees in mixed cases, when dismissed by the Merit Systems Protection Board, can file appeals in district court. Until now, they had to file in both district and federal circuit courts. Mixed case means the employee complains about adverse action because of race, gender, age or disability bias. Judges Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas dissented. (Supreme Court)
  • House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Government Operations Subcommittee Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) introduced a bill to give participants in the Thrift Savings Plan more options to withdraw funds from their accounts. The bill is a companion to Senate legislation introduced back in April. The TSP Modernization Act has support from the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, AFGE, NTEU and NARFE. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Air Force expands hazard pay for battlefield airmen with a new program. The airmen can now receive incentive pay even when they are not in war zones. The Air Force hopes it will encourage them to seek medical attention when needed and to improve retention rates in the service. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Navy is getting rid of most of its online training requirements for its civilian workforce. The policy change follows a similar move the Navy made for its uniformed sailors three months ago, eliminating almost all mandatory, department-wide computer-based training. The one exception is the Defense Department’s Cyber Awareness Challenge, which is required for all DoD personnel. The Navy said it wants to eliminate “administrative distractions,” and that web-based training is often too passive and impersonal. The new policy gives local commanders the freedom to deliver required military training in any venue they see fit. (Federal News Radio)