Members of Congress hope to secure a bigger pay rise for federal workers next year

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Members of Congress are pushing for a 5.1% wage increase for federal workers next year. The increase aligns with the Federal Adjustment of House Revenue Rates, or “FAIR” Act. In a letter to the House Appropriations Committee, 62 Representatives urge the President and the filing…

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To listen to the Federal Newscast on your phone or mobile device, subscribe to PodcastOne or Apple Podcasts. The best desktop listening experience can be found using Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.

  • Members of Congress are pushing for a 5.1% wage increase for federal workers next year. The increase aligns with the Federal Adjustment of House Revenue Rates, or “FAIR” Act. In a letter to the House Appropriations Committee, 62 Reps urge the chair and ranking member to implement the increase. They cite a 2020 report that says federal employees earn about 23% less than private sector workers. The request is half a percent higher than what the White House requested in its budget request for fiscal year 2023.
  • The OPM is reinvigorating the government-wide shared services effort for human resources. The Office of Personnel Management is once again reinvigorating the 20-year-old effort to move agencies towards modern human resource systems. OPM will soon be querying agencies about their HR IT systems as a first step to creating a marketplace. The survey will ask agencies about the current state of their HR systems and any plans and timelines to modernize them. With the new data, the OPM will make recommendations on how best to set up the market under the Quality Service Management Office or QSMO. It was under the administration of President George W. Bush that the OMB launched the HR business line effort.
  • Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, federal employee engagement and satisfaction scores plummet in new data from the 2021 Federal Employee Perspective Survey, or “FEVS.” The Office of Personnel Management reports that engagement has increased from 72% in 2020 to 71% in 2021. Overall satisfaction has declined 5% since 2020, to 64% in 2021. OPM says these scores may reflect agencies implementing more hybrid work and return-to-work plans. OPM says it will release its 2022 FEVS on time this fall after the two previous surveys were delayed. (Federal News Network)
  • The Biden administration’s focus on diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility extends to the construction and design industry. The General Services Administration has issued two Information Requests seeking input from industry and other experts on how to ensure DEI&A is included in its modernization and point building efforts. land entrance. The GSA featured more than 30 questions in each RFI, ranging from how companies recruit their employees to their leadership priorities and involvement in DEI&A issues to the benefits of expanding diversity and inclusion efforts. Responses to RFIs are expected by May 12.
  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology is studying how to measure the risks of emerging artificial intelligence technologies in the financial industry. The agency is investigating whether there is a way to use artificial intelligence or machine learning to make banking systems inclusive for more users. NIST Director Laurie Locascio said the first draft of an AI risk management framework released in March for public comment will help all of these efforts. She says the agency’s scientists and engineers are developing taxonomies, terminologies and testbeds to measure AI-related risks. (Federal News Network)
  • An IRS watchdog is calling on the agency to expand services to the public online. National Taxpayers’ Advocate Erin Collins said online services from the Social Security Administration and the private sector have raised expectations for high-quality online services from the IRS. Collins says taxpayers should be able to chat with an IRS representative or provide documents online. The IRS has popular online resources, such as its “Where’s My Refund?” tool, but many of them are standalone apps that don’t exist in a single hub.
  • The Postal Service is facing three lawsuits over its plan to buy mostly gas-powered vehicles as part of its next-generation fleet. The lawsuits allege the USPS set the estimated cost of electric vehicles at an unrealistic level as part of its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIS), but set the bar low for future gas prices . The lawsuits claim the USPS failed to look closely at the long-term environmental impact of a primarily gasoline-powered fleet. The lawsuits claim that a new analysis could cause the USPS to replace more of its fleet with electric vehicles. California is leading 15 other states in a lawsuit against the USPS. Environmental groups and the United Auto Workers run two others in California and New York. (Federal News Network)
  • The Department of Homeland Security is setting up a new council to counter misinformation about its own policies on the southern border. According to DHS, the main idea is to quell rumors on social media that the border is open to migrants from Latin America. Smuggling groups tend to capitalize on these messages to drive business. The same council will be tasked with monitoring foreign disinformation campaigns that attempt to influence US elections. (Federal News Network)
  • Agencies and other organizations need to beware of more than a dozen commonly exploited cyber vulnerabilities. That’s according to a new advisory issued by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, along with other federal and international partners. Among the most common vulnerabilities and exposures is the Log4j open source software library bug. CISA recommends that organizations prioritize several mitigation measures, including enforcing multi-factor authentication for all users of their systems.
  • The Small Business Administration gets its cybersecurity bulletin. The SBA’s information security program was deemed “not effective” for fiscal year 2021 by the agency’s inspector general. The IG says the SBA encountered security issues as it had to process an unprecedented volume of pandemic relief requests. The agency experienced challenges in areas such as patch management processes, identity and access management, and contingency planning. The SBA accepted the IG’s recommendations to address many of the deficiencies found in its information security program.
  • The Senate approves two other President Biden nominees for leadership positions within the Department of the Air Force. Kristyn Jones will be the Air Force’s new comptroller and chief financial officer after a voice vote yesterday. The Senate also approved Frank Calvelli as Air Force Assistant Secretary for Space Acquisition. It is a brand new post Congress created as part of the 2020 Defense Authorization Bill.
  • The military is experiencing a record number of suicides, especially in remote areas. A government watchdog has some ideas on how to help. Active duty suicides in the military are up more than 30% since 20-16, especially in isolated places like bases in Alaska. The Government Accountability Office says the Department of Defense needs to better assess suicide risks at these locations. This means, in part, establishing a process to improve suicide prevention efforts. The GAO says there are gaps in the training of key personnel and problems with current policies. The watchdog says that by solving this problem, commanders will be better prepared to provide support to troops.
  • The Defense Information Systems Agency says it is seeing feedback on the reorganization it undertook last year. The agency’s deputy director says DISA is better prepared for innovation in lower-level offices. DISA now has five teams that meet regularly to share ideas and keep the agency in constant communication. DISA hasn’t put any metrics in place to measure its success, but it says the reorganization is better suited to close peer competition. (Federal News Network)
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