The Pentagon enters what many hope will be the last round against cancer

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  • The Office of Personnel Management is trying to create better pathways to help agencies recruit qualified, younger and more diverse candidates. This is part of a bipartisan infrastructure law hiring effort. The act adds 8,000 new federal jobs across all agencies, including the Departments of Transportation, Energy, Commerce and Agriculture. The wave of hiring includes the recruitment of 3,000 of these new positions in the first six months after President Biden signed the bill. (Federal News Network)
  • OPM is launching what its chief information officer calls a giant logistics effort. CIO Guy Cavallo said his store is packing home office kits consisting of two monitors, a laptop docking station, keyboard and mouse. Deliveries, or pickups from loading docks, will begin in a week. No printers, however. Speaking at an ATARC conference in Annapolis Maryland, Cavallo said the OPM recognizes that a significant portion of its workforce will telecommute mostly permanently. These employees will not have work space in the OPM offices.
  • President Biden appoints Army General Christopher Cavoli as Supreme Allied Commander Europe. NATO also supported his nomination. In this position, he will handle Allied Command Operations and lead Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. The positions are currently held by Air Force General Tod Wolters.
  • The Department of Defense works with other agencies to defeat cancer. The Pentagon participates in the massive Cancer Moonshot program of the White House. The Department of Defense will expand its study of DNA and proteins beyond the current network of 13 military and VA hospitals. Over time, the effort will grow to encompass work on all types of cancer. The DoD will convene a roundtable today to discuss cancer health equity and cancer-related military exposures. The White House wants to reduce the cancer death rate by 50% over the next 25 years.
  • The Justice Department is now going after the company for allegedly being involved in a conflict of interest case at the Department of Homeland Security. After settling with former DHS executive Ken J. Buck for $10,000 in April, the DoJ filed a lawsuit yesterday against Intelligent Fiscal Optimal Solutions and its owner, Tawanda M. Smith, both of Columbia, Maryland. . Justice alleges that IFOS and Smith violated the False Claims Act by submitting false invoices to DHS as part of a contract for staff augmentation services. Justice says IFOS falsely claimed another employee had served as a strategic advisor for the project, but had Buck in that role before the end of its two-year cooling-off period.
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency employees receive good news in a case of alleged unpaid overtime. Current and former FEMA employees could soon benefit from a $16.5 million settlement for unpaid overtime. The American Federation of Government Employees said it recently settled the Fair Labor Standards Act grievance with FEMA. AFGE first filed the lawsuit in 2018. It alleged that FEMA employees “were wrongfully denied FLSA coverage and were not properly compensated for all overtime worked.” Going forward, the Class Action Enforcement Group will gather information from FEMA and other sources to determine who is eligible to receive settlement payments. (Federal News Network)
  • Senate lawmakers are pressing the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general on whether his office has decreased or delayed reports of sexual harassment and misconduct at DHS. Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ohio) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) raised those concerns in an April 27 letter to IG Joseph Cuffari. This follows reports from the Government Oversight Project that suggest Cuffari’s office is delaying a report on harassment and misconduct by DHS law enforcement agencies. Lawmakers ask Cuffari when the report will be released and why it was delayed, among other questions.
  • Agencies have yet to comply with the Government Accountability Office’s thousands of recommendations. Now, the leadership of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee wants the GAO to change how it reports progress on those recommendations to Congress. Committee Chairman Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Ranking Member Rob Portman (R-Ohio) introduced the Better Government for American Taxpayers Act. This would force the GAO to consolidate its most urgent but unmet recommendations into a single report to congressional leaders. Representatives Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.) and William Timmons (RS.C.) introduced the bill in the House.
  • The IRS is exploring scanning technology to tackle its paper backlog. In a request for information, it said it was looking for technology that would perform a full digital take on all its incoming mail. The IRS receives more than 100 million pieces of mail each year and has named its paper workload a major hurdle this filing season. IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig told members of the Senate Appropriations Committee that the agency was looking at ways to automate paper tax filings. (Federal News Network)
  • The General Services Administration is taking corrective action to resolve its government-wide acquisition contract dispute Polaris. The Government Accountability Office dismissed BD Squared’s protest on April 25. The move came about a month after the company filed the complaint and 19 days after the GSA suspended all supply after hearing industry concerns about mentor-protégé requirements. The nature of this remedy remains unclear. Even BD Squared is waiting to see what GSA does. Co-founder Brian Friel told Federal News Network that they appreciate the GSA’s agreement to make legal updates to the tender in a timely manner, but had no details on what were these updates.
  • Federal employees get more recognition from House lawmakers as part of Public Service Appreciation Week. A new bill reinforces gratitude to federal workers during the week. The bill states that public servants should be commended for their dedication and continued service to the United States. The legislation also highlights many contributions of the federal workforce, including fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, protecting critical infrastructure and securing transportation systems. Public Service Recognition Week runs from May 1 to May 8.

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