Employees who handle veterans benefits claims and the disability claims backlog, as well as some cybersecurity professionals, are among the Veterans Affairs Department’s additional hiring freeze exemptions. VA Secretary David Shulkin announced more exemptions in a March 13 memo to staff.
Since Michael Missal took over as inspector general at the Veterans Affairs Department about a year ago, his office has turned up some improvements, some deteriorations and the odd surprise.
An extension and then redesign of the Veterans Choice Program, along with new employee accountability legislation, are top priorities for new Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. He said he’s working with Congress on new legislation to support those initiatives.
Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and John Tester (D-Mont.) wrote to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro on Feb. 6 asking for an analysis of what went right and what went wrong when DoD moved to the Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Investigative Service (FIS) nearly 12 years ago.
David Shulkin, President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Veterans Affairs Department, earned high praise from the Senate committee during his nomination hearing. Changing the department’s current Veterans Choice Program and crafting new accountability and disciplinary procedures for VA employees were common topics.
Rob Snyder, the acting secretary of the Veterans Affairs Department, officially exempts some health care, construction and project management professionals from the President’s short-term hiring freeze. Snyder’s announcement comes after repeated appeals from some lawmakers, who said the freeze could impact veterans’ ability to access health care.
The Office of Management and Budget detailed a few immediate actions that agencies should take following President Donald Trump’s recently announced hiring freeze.
The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee took on the recommendations from the VA Commission on Care’s recent report on veterans health care.
The four companies awarded contracts for background investigation work are made up of two new faces and two current federal contractors.
Two senators are urging the Office of Personnel Management to share details about the progress — or lack thereof — for the National Background Investigations Bureau. The NBIB is expected to be operational by October 2016.
In a letter to acting OPM Director Beth Cobert, Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) say they’re concerned the agency doesn’t have firm plans for transitioning the federal security clearance process from the old organization to the new National Background Investigations Bureau.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) plans to introduce a package of bills aimed at government reform. The legislative bundle includes extra protection for whistleblowers as well as barriers to prevent abuse of administrative leave and awarding bonuses to misbehaving employees.
The under secretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics assured lawmakers that the DoD is keeping a close eye on the cybersecurity measures of its vendors.
The National Federation of Federal Employees says recent guidance from the Office of Personnel Management contradicts legislation that would let temporary or seasonal workers compete for the same jobs that are open to permanent federal employees.
Accountability in the Senior Executive Service will be at the center of congressional discussions on a new omnibus legislative package for the Veterans Affairs Department. Senate VA Committee Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) said he wants the VA and the committee to finish its work on the legislation by April 1.