Embattled ICE getting permanent leader

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  • The White House said President Trump plans to nominate Ronald Vitiello to serve as the permanent director of the embattled U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Vitiello is the deputy director and has been performing the duties of the director since June, including oversite of the administration’s unpopular handling of immigrant children. Vitiello previously  served in the Customs and Border Protection directorate as its acting deputy commissioner and began his career more than 30 years ago as border patrol agent in Texas. (White House)
  • Nearly 4,500 employees at Health and Human Services (HHS) have signed a petition in opposition of the agency’s new bargaining proposals. HHS’ proposals do not include 21 articles of the agency’s existing contract with the National Treasury Employees Union. The excluded articles involve alternative work schedules, office space and public transportation subsidies. The petition asks HHS Secretary Alex Azar to reconsider the proposals and work with the union on new ones at the bargaining table. (National Treasury Employees Union)
  • HHS’ Inspector General is seeing less results despite more funding. The OIG’s budget has risen by 16% since 2012, but returns on investment are down since 2014, according to a Federal News Radio investigation. The number of audits and evaluations the OIG conducts each year are also down. Meanwhile, the proportion of  management to other staff has grown, further pumping the brakes on productivity. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Government Publishing Office mismanaged its awarding of a major contract to print 2020 census forms according to its Office of the Inspector General. Last year, GPO awarded a $61 million contract to paper products manufacturer Cenveo, but the company declared bankruptcy in February. The IG office found GPO didn’t follow procurement guidelines and let Cenveo lower its original bid by nearly $9 million prior to awarding the contract. The Justice Department ended the contract in July. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Defense Department(DoD) has banned the use of fitness trackers and other geolocation-enabled devices and applications in sensitive areas. Military troops and other defense personnel may not use them unless the combatant commander authorizes it. DoD says the new order protects personal information, locations, and the number of DoD personnel in certain areas. (Federal News Radio)
  • The General Services Administration (GSA) has chosen long-time Office of Personnel Management (OPM) employee to help with merger planning. David Vargas will be tasked with launching GSA’s new Service Management Office. Vargas spent the last five years working at OPM where held several positions including the director of the HR Line of Business, acting CIO and deputy CIO and director of HR IT transformation. GSA Administrator Emily Murphy said the new office will support the agency’s expanded mission of support service offerings to other agencies. GSA also named Beth Angerman and Dan Pomeroy to new roles in the Office of Governmentwide Policy. (Federal News Radio)
  • Multiple sources have toldl Federal News Radio the Trump administration is prepping an executive order (EO) to transfer the governmentwide security clearance program from OPM, to the Pentagon. Sources said they originally expected an EO over the summer. But legal considerations may push back the release until as late as November. The transfer of the security clearance program is one of a dozen government reorganization proposals the Trump administration has said it could implement administratively. (Federal News Radio)
  • New Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie has met with senior leaders at the VA Medical Center in Washington. He said the agency has brought in new people in quality improvement and purchasing. The D.C. medical center has also started  implementing new financial controls and is said to be setting up an electronic inventory system to identify needed equipment. VA also identified a new permanent director for the D.C. hospital. Wilkie said he will announce the new leader in the near future. (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • A project manager for one of the government’s largest energy efficiency contractors has pleaded guilty to taking millions of dollars in kickbacks. Bhaskar Patel, an official at Schneider Electric, admitted in a Vermont federal courtroom on Monday that he took more than $2.5-million in bribes and kickbacks from subcontractors in connection with the firm’s government work. He faces up to ten years in prison when he is sentenced. Prosecutors say he repeatedly falsified bid documents involving several multi-million dollar energy projects for the Coast Guard, GSA, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Veterans Affairs. (Federal News Radio)