How many of you now go to bed wondering, “What presidential tweet am I going to wake up to next?” The federal contracting space has been shaken, not stirred.
In the old news department, President Trump instituted an immediate hiring freeze this Monday, signing a presidential memorandum that would affect a large swath of the executive branch. There are exemptions, of course, for those working in the military, national security, and public safety.
In my discussions with officials at several federal agencies, it appears that the language is vague enough that different agencies are interpreting this in different ways. If your entire team is on the airplane that has the “water landing” does this mean that no one can be hired to do the work? Maybe it will become more clear in the next couple of months. The executive order directs the Director of OMB, in consultation with the Director of OPM, to recommend a long-term plan to reduce the size of the Federal Government’s workforce through attrition. The order does say that contractors cannot be hired to circumvent the intent of the order.
However, a big problem is that the federal workforce has not been growing. Federal News Radio is reporting that the size of the federal workforce has been decreasing, not increasing. The size of the federal workforce has steadily declined over the past 50 years. Approximately 2 million people worked for civilian agencies in 2015—nearly a 10 percent decline since 1967.
Regarding the workforce, and in specific the federal contracting workforce, the Obama Executive Orders are in the twilight zone. Executive Order 13673, Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces, was stopped cold by a Texas federal district court in 2016. Since this was a unilateral act by the President, it will most likely be undone along with the Executive Order on Sick Leave.
On the minor but still need to know information, a final rule came out on Privacy Act training. At a minimum, contractors must educate employees about:
- The provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974, including penalties for violations
- The appropriate handling and safeguarding of personally identifiable information
- The authorized and official use of a system of records or any other personally identifiable information
- The restriction on the use of unauthorized equipment to create, collect, use, process, store, maintain, disseminate, disclose, dispose, or otherwise access personally identifiable information
- The prohibition against the unauthorized use of a system of records or unauthorized disclosure, access, handling, or use of personally identifiable information
- Procedures to be followed in the event of a suspected or confirmed breach of a system of records or unauthorized disclosure, access, handling, or use of personally identifiable information
Those are today’s latest updates, but we’ll see what Twitter has to say about it in the coming days.
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.