Restoring veterans’ trust and mending gaps between the department’s headquarters and its employees in the field are top priorities for Tom Bowman, the president’s nominee to be the deputy VA secretary.
In a new white paper from the National Academy of Public Administration, federal experts say a breakdown of the federal human capital system ultimately led to some of agencies’ biggest challenges in recent years, from the cyber breaches at the Office of Personnel Management to the 49,000 vacancies at the Veterans Affairs Department.
A 2018 budget proposal from the House Budget Committee asks federal employees to contribute more toward their retirement as a way to find $203 billion in mandatory spending cuts next year.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will consider a series of bills this week that could impact the federal workforce. Among them is legislation that would give participants more options to withdraw investments from the Thrift Savings Plan.
The Veterans Affairs Department spends too much money on bricks and mortar and not enough on its own doctors and nurses, former VA Secretary Anthony Principi told Congress. Some lawmakers are once again calling for a full review of VA capital assets, which span encompass more than 6,000 owned buildings and 1,500 leased facilities and span more than 170 million square feet.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is preparing reductions in force (RIFs) to employees at three offices at the agency. An NRC spokesman said the agency is looking at alternatives to RIFs, but it sent an initial 120-day notice to the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents many NRC employees.
The Homeland Security Department Science and Technology Directorate’s cybersecurity division is in a more comfortable place now with many of its top research and development priorities. It’s transitioned more than 75 major projects to practice and is finding a solid footing in the Silicon Valley start-up space.
The Trump administration wants to increase early retirement and separation incentives from a cap of $25,000 to $40,000 for all civilian federal employees. It also wants to create a governmentwide industry exchange program, which would let federal employees temporary work in a private corporation or association for no more than two years. The administration submitted both proposals to Congress to be included in the National Defense Authorization Act.
Senators have two very different proposals to redesign the Veterans Choice Program. Both pieces of legislation represent very different ideologies and sides of a debate that Congress, the Veterans Affairs Department, veterans service organizations and federal employee groups have been having for the past three years.
According to the Veterans Affairs Department’s new reports detailing all major disciplinary actions for its workers, VA is on track to fire fewer people in 2017 than it has during the past six fiscal years. Federal employment experts say the new adverse action reports lack some significant details about VA’s efforts to improve accountability and transparency.
The Office of Personnel Management continued to make progress in whittling down its backlog of unprocessed retirement claims during the month of June. The backlog stood at 14,530, the lowest it’s been since last June.
A small group of senators says the Veterans Health Administration should have its own chief information officer, who would report to the department’s undersecretary for health and would oversee all management and procurement decisions related to the health administration’s IT systems. It’s one of a few specific recommendations from the VA Commission on Care that are beginning to appear in new pieces of legislation.
The Office of Management and Budget is writing a new consolidated policy on identity management. The forthcoming guidance is designed to give agencies one place to view OMB’s collection of identity management policies and lessons learned over the past several years.
Thrift Savings Plan returns slowed in the month of June, though only two funds dipped in the red. The S and I funds saw the most significant changes, both positive and negative, in June compared to the previous month’s returns.
Congress wants the Veterans Affairs Department to expand acquisition internship program and start using the same requirements to report cost savings from procurement activities. Lawmakers see these pieces of legislation as easy bills, but VA has its objections.