New VA Chief Wants to Fire More Employees

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Center of Excellence on the Medical Consequences of Spinal Cord Injury is lucky to have Center Director Dr. William A. Bauman and Associate Director Dr. Ann M. Spungen on their team. For their work, Dr. Bauman and Dr. Sungen have been named finalists for the Service to America Medals, also known as the Sammies – the Oscars for federal employees.

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The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. Politico: White House meets with big biz on immigration- “Senior White House officials are in talks with business leaders that could expand the executive actions President Barack Obama takes on immigration. Obama was initially expected to focus only on slowing deportations of potentially millions of undocumented immigrants and altering federal enforcement policies. Now top aides are talking with leaders in big companies like Cisco, Intel and Accenture, hoping to add more changes that would get them on board.”

  2. Nextgov: Air Force Inks $291 Million Deals for Commodity Aircraft Supplies- “The Air Force requires thousands of low-cost electronic and hardware commodity items to keep its fleet of aircraft flying and yesterday awarded eight companies contracts valued at $288 million to supply it with 3,000 separate items. Under the Third Party Logistics Follow-on Service Acquisition, vendors will source and supply the Air Force with commodity electronic equipment valued in the $20,000 or less range. That equipment includes handheld computers, network analyzers, electronic test equipment, radio and radar antennas, intercoms, radio and TV equipment as well as hardware such as portable gantry cranes and lubrication dispensing gear.”

  3. Government Executive: New VA Chief Wants to Fire More Employees . . . Respectfully- “Malfeasant Veterans Affairs Department employees will be held accountable, newly sworn-in Secretary Bob McDonald said on Thursday, but the process will take time and the employees will be treated with respect. When touring a VA facility in Memphis, McDonald told reporters he could not disclose any information on who or how many senior executives would be fired in relation to the wait time and data manipulation scandal that has engulfed the agency in recent months, and said due process must be maintained.”

  4. FCW: Army hits reset button on intelligence-sharing system- “The Army issued a request for information on Aug. 13 for the next phase of its controversial intelligence-sharing network, the Distributed Common Ground System – Army. The service expects the project to be open to bidders in fiscal 2016. Click here to read the RFI.”

  5. Federal News Radio: Per diem rates to go unchanged in fiscal 2015- “Federal employees on business travel next year will not have more money to spend on hotels and meals. The General Services Administration announced Friday in the Federal Register that the per diem rates for fiscal 2015 will not change from 2014. “The standard lodging per diem rate will remain at $83,” GSA stated in the notice, which goes into effect Oct. 1. “The meals and incidental expense tiers also remain unchanged for FY 2014 and range from $46 to $71.” GSA raised the per diem rates this year from 2013 levels. That came after the agency froze the 2013 rates at 2012 amounts. The decision to freeze 2013 rates came as part of the Obama administration’s requirement to cut federal travel costs by 30 percent in 2012.”

  6. Government Executive: CBO: Sequestration Cuts Are Unlikely This Year- “The fiscal 2014 budget that President Obama signed last December contained enough cuts and revenues to avoid across-the-board cuts this year, the Congressional Budget Office confirmed Thursday. In its mandatory biannual update on sequestration, the nonpartisan office said that with Congress in having made only minor adjustments to the spending caps required under the 2011 Budget Control Act, little has changed from its January 2014 assessment that no budgetary cancellations will be needed before fiscal 2014 ends Oct. 1.”

  7. Federal News Radio: Sen. Ron Wyden calls for surveillance policy shift- “When it comes to searches by law enforcement, U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden believes people’s online communication should have just as much protection as their homes and property. In a speech Friday at a Portland tech conference, the Oregon Democrat called for updates to the rules by which intelligence agencies operate, and said he plans new legislation aimed at ending bulk electronic surveillance. “If you would defend a society built on the principle of individual liberty, you need to recognize that you can no longer rely on the fact that mass surveillance is hard. Folks, in the 21st century, mass surveillance is easy,” Wyden said.”

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  • U.S. Intelligence Can’t Stop the Next Snowden for Years [The Daily Beast] Stung by criticism over allegedly draconian surveillance of its own employees—and by the appearance of an apparent new leaker—the U.S. intelligence community is struggling to put in place sweeping new monitoring to watch the watchers, without going so far that they chill whistleblowing or go so Big Brother, they drive their workforce away. They’re also smarting over charges that the new monitoring is taking too long to install. U.S. intelligence officials tell The Daily Beast that they’re still almost a year away from being able to monitor public databases for signs their employees have broken U.S. laws or hit financial difficulty. And the officials said the community is months if not years away from monitoring individual computer activity in the 70 government agencies that have access to classified information, because of the variety of computer systems and networks that span the U.S. government. They don’t even have 100 percent coverage across the intelligence agencies yet, when it comes to some of the highly classified or compartmented programs.

  • Veterans group: VA secretary has ‘already gone native with the VA bureaucracy’ [The Washington Post] President Obama’s newest Cabinet member drew criticism this week for his approach to firing employees after he insisted that the Department of Veterans Affairs will deal respectfully and methodically with workers suspected of wrongdoing in the agency’s record-keeping scandal. VA Secretary Robert McDonald said Thursday that the agency is working as fast as it can to remove bad workers under a new law that gives the VA greater authority to fire senior executives, but he added that the employees are entitled to due process. He declined to say how many employees the VA has disciplined or identify any of the individuals. Federal law restricts what an agency can say about such matters.

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