The 1939 Hatch Act is meant to prevent federal employees and certain state and local government employees from unduly interfering with elections. It prohibits, for example, things like intimidation, bribery, and promising benefits to coerce political support or campaign contributions. It also prohibits the use of federal funds, which includes federal workers and buildings, to assist in political campaigns. Federal employees are also forbidden from joining "any political organization which advocates the overthrow of our constitutional form of government."
The Office of Personnel Management has announced changes to the performance evaluation processes for Senior Executive Service and Senior Level/Scientific and Professional personnel. The revised process, called Certification 2.0, is expected to reduce the administrative burden of preparing and reviewing certification submissions. It is also meant to focus more of the OPM certification on the actual outcomes of performance evaluations rather than on compliance.
With substantial changes being proposed across the federal workforce, we're in an unsettling time. Are the changes in the President's Management Agenda aimed at gutting merit systems protections? Have leaders concluded that the federal workforce is standing in the way of progress?
In September, business leaders, human capital experts and federal leaders gathered for a White House symposium to discuss human resources issues surrounding the President's Management Agenda. One core idea from the discussion and its associated report was that any changes made to the federal workplace should take the employee experience into account as much as business needs.
Federal, state and local agencies will be working harder to fight fraud now that "Program Integrity: The Antifraud Playbook," a program developed by the Bureau of the Fiscal Service and the Chief Financial Officers Council, has been released. The playbook is meant to help agencies meet the requirements of the Fraud Reduction and Data Analytics Act of 2015 and OMB Circular A-123 -- to reduce money lost to the government through improper payment. It's also part of the "Getting Payments Right" goal of the president's management agenda.
Rob "It's a big federal government agency. It spends a lot of taxpayer dollars. And so, as a general matter, I think the public has a right to know how its funds are being spent," the National Security Agency's inspector general, Rob Storch, told NPR.
Recently, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) sent a memo to agency heads about recruitment for the 2020 decennial census. Employees of other federal agencies are being invited to take on temporary second jobs with the Census Bureau.
Leadership from three components of the Department of Homeland Security -- the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) -- do not consistently monitor their internal controls in employee misconduct cases, according to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office.
According to a Sept. 5 report by the Government Accountability Office, the average federal agency has done little over the past 20 years to increase its use of performance data to make management decisions, or even to adopt practices to promote its use. In particular, the GAO compared a 2013 survey to the most recent (2017) survey of 24 agencies and found little change.
A federal judge has overturned most of the key provisions of the three executive orders affecting federal employees that President Trump signed in late May. Among other changes, one executive order directed federal agencies to renegotiate all union contracts involving federal employees and changed what was to happen when negotiations stall. Another limited the overall length of performance improvement plans to 30 days and constrained appeals. A third restricted the "official time" available to be used for union activities.