Raise Your Hand if You Want a Reenlistment Bonus to Redeploy – Oops Sorry, You Didn’t Read the Fine Print, Pay it Back Later
Really? Seriously, this cannot be true. You, by that I mean you the Pentagon, as in The Pentagon, why are you making soldiers pay back reenlistment bonuses they were promised? This is wrong. As in really, wrong. Their job was to show up, redeploy (“re” as in go back again to a place you wouldn’t take your family to on a vacation), and do their job. They did that. You, the Pentagon, your job was to pay the bonuses that you promised them. Oops, fine print error. Bring out the lawyers. The fine print was that after you paid the bonuses you could try and get the money back years later due to payment errors that you, the Pentagon made. This is about fundamental unfairness. It seems a lot like Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown, only a lot less comical. Do we need to start a Go Fund Me campaign for the servicemen and women who were duped by this bait and switch? The Washington Post has more.
Then the Pentagon Asks Congress for $6 Billion More
I was hoping this $6 billion was for paying back the so-called bonuses they collected back from the service members, but no, life is not that fair. This money is to pay for troop increases in Iraq, a slower draw-down of troops from Afghanistan, and more intense air operations, according to Pentagon Comptroller Mike McCord. The “budget amendment” also will respond to an urgent request from field commanders for additional systems to counter Islamic State drones, McCord said in an interview. Nothing will be happening until after the election though. Read more at Bloomberg online.
Former Pixar Exec to Head GSA’s TTS
Former Pixar executive Rob Cook is the new Commissioner of the Technology Transformation Service (TTS) at the General Services Administration (GSA). GSA created TTS earlier this year to help improve the technology of the federal government. Americans increasingly interact with vital services online and the job of TTS is to help agencies deliver digital products and services that are easy to use, efficient, effective, and secure. Cook started October 31, 2016 and GSA’s website has more details.
Another Revolving Door
Patricia A. Shiu will step down as the director of the OFCCP on November 6, and Thomas M. Dowd, the agency’s deputy director, will serve as the acting director until a new labor secretary appoints a permanent director. Under Shiu, OFCCP established new data collection and analysis requirements for the hiring of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities; instituted nondiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity; sanctioned pay transparency; and rescinded 1970 sex discrimination guidelines, replacing them with regulations based on new cases and amendments to Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, as related to discrimination based on gender. Read more on Bloomberg BNA.
Government Sourcing Saves, but Not Enough
When the government spends $2 billion, you would think that saving $470 million in the process would be a good thing. And it is, but to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) it’s not enough. The GAO recently issued a report that looked at agency spending that occurred within blanket purchase agreements and other FSSI programs. The report concluded that the relatively low use of FSSIs diminished the potential savings. Having a lack of accountability to use the programs was partly to blame. As an example, even the Strategic Sourcing Leadership Council who is responsible for FSSI governance only directed 10% of their collective spending to FSSIs. The bottom line? As the report says, “Although federal strategic sourcing initiatives have saved agencies almost $500 million in the past four years, the Government Accountability Office said the millions could become billions if the initiatives were more widely used.” Read more on FCW’s website.
Could DC Metro Woes Lead to the Creation of Another Federal Agency
After being appointed to the Metro Board of Directors only about two years ago, Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans has consistently reported on the Metro’s failings over that time period. And now, Evans says, it is time for a change. Evans has now urged for a federal takeover of the transit system, stating that only a body that can fire employees and restructure without outside interference can fix the agency’s dire problems. Evans proposes a small board to run the Metro with five members appointed by the President. Evans believes that this board is necessary as a condition to get federal funds to help cover Metro’s operating deficits, which is estimated at $290 million in the next fiscal year. While the idea might be great in theory, Evans admits that the creation of the board would face major legal and political challenges. In fact, Evans admits that he might not even have support behind the idea: “The region is resistant to change of any kind. Nobody wants to change anything, even as the house is burning down.” More information is in the Washington Post.
Another GAO Report on the VA
The GAO did a review on Veterans Health Administration (VHA) operations. They identified deficiencies in its organizational structure and recommended changes that would require significant restructuring, including eliminating and consolidating program offices and reducing VHA central office staff. However, VHA does not have a process that ensures recommended organizational structure changes are evaluated to determine how appropriate actions can be implemented. This is inconsistent with federal standards for internal control for monitoring, which state that management should remediate identified internal control deficiencies on a timely basis. Read more on the GAO website.
About the Author
Barbara Kinosky has more than twenty-five years of experience in all aspects of federal government contracting and is a nationally known expert on GSA and VA Schedules and the Service Contract Act. She has a proven track record of solving complex issues for clients by providing strategic and business savvy advice. Barbara was named a top attorney for federal contracting by Smart CEO magazine in 2010, 2012, and 2015.