New tool to help agencies request bigger incentive payouts

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  • A new tool from the Office of Personnel Management will help agencies request approval for recruitment, retention and relocation incentives more easily. OPM created a series of fillable templates to help agencies make requests when they want to offer a higher incentive pay than they’re allowed to give without approval. The Government Accountability Office recently found agencies rarely used these incentives. (Chief Human Capital Officers Council)
  • Key management positions at the Agriculture Department are filled as part of USDA’s ongoing reorganization. Secretary Sonny Perdue announced five changes to its management ranks including making Donald Bice the permanent deputy assistant secretary for administration. Bice had been acting in that role since September. Mary Pletcher was recruited from the Interior Department to be USDA’s new chief human capital officer. Perdue also says Gary Washington will become permanent chief information officer. (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
  • The White House confirmed that it is withdrawing one of President Trump’s nominations. Trump nominated Kathleen Hartnett White last October to serve as chair of the Council on Environmental Quality. The Senate included White’s name on a list of political nominations sent back to the White House for reconsideration at the end of 2017. Before her nomination, White served on a commission overseeing Texas’ environmental agency. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Labor Department’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service kicked off a new demonstration program to promote the hiring of veterans. The HIRE Vets Medallion Program Demonstration will test the application, review and award processes for the program. The program, created by Congress under the HIRE Vets Act, will begin in 2019. The demonstration program is free and limited to the first 300 applicants. (HireVets.gov)
  • Recent veterans are not getting the mental health care they need, according to two new studies. A study mandated by Congress found that there are substantial unmet needs for mental health services for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. The study stated half of the vets with depression or post-traumatic stress disorder are not receiving mental health care. A different study from the Clinical Psychology Review said the focus on issues like PTSD may overshadow other stresses veterans are facing. Those stresses include losing their military identity and feeling isolation in the civilian world.
  • Congress and the Government Accountability Office are concerned the Veterans Affairs Department will not meet its self-imposed February 2019 deadline to stand up a new appeals process. The deadline was included in a new appeals modernization act passed last August. But VA doesn’t have a complete implementation plan. It’s IT plan only goes up to the first six months. (Federal News Radio)
  • A big change in Medicaid policy at Health and Human Services could herald a patchwork of policies nationwide. On Friday, HHS approved an Indiana program to require working-age Medicaid recipients to have to work, or do community service. It’s the second state to do so, after Kentucky, since HHS opened the possibility of work requirements last month. In traveling to Indiana to underscore the change, newly-installed Secretary Scott Azar said several other states are negotiating with HHS for new Medicaid approaches. (Department of Health and Human Services)
  • 31 more small businesses can now compete for work under the OASIS governmentwide acquisition contract for professional services. The General Services Administration added these firms to the existing stable of vendors to provide payroll services, tax preparation services and other similar functions. This is the first on-ramp for the OASIS contract. (FedBizOpps)
  • The Homeland Security Department and the General Services Administration awarded a $621 million contract to Booz Allen Hamilton under the continuous diagnostics and mitigation, or CDM, program. The six-year task order was for maintenance of existing cyber tools and the implementation of new ones at seven agencies. The agency customers include the departments of Veterans Affairs, Transportation, Energy and the Office of Personnel Management. This is the first CDM award under the Alliant governmentwide acquisition contract. (Booz Allen Hamilton)