Postal Service agrees to provide more transparency during election season

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  • The Postal Service settled another lawsuit stemming from the 2020 presidential election. The USPS agreed to post election mail and mail-in voting guidelines on its website ahead of primary and general elections through 2028. The USPS has also agreed to meet with state attorneys general to review its election mail performance and provide on-time weekly delivery data. Pennsylvania led five other states and the District of Columbia in the lawsuit. The settlement is similar to how the USPS resolved another lawsuit brought by the NAACP and Public Citizen. (Federal News Network)
  • Federal law enforcement officers may see changes in their retirement savings compared to split annuities. Currently, the basic pension and the pension supplements are calculated in the same way for federal agents. This allows the ex-spouses of divorced officers to receive part of their pension supplement. Two senators from the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee are seeking to clarify the rules. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) have reintroduced a bill that would require a court order or similar process for former spouses to actually receive those payments.
  • Lawmakers are pressing the Department of Homeland Security inspector general over reports he suppressed findings of domestic violence and sexual harassment by DHS employees. House lawmakers are asking the office of Inspector General Joseph Cuffari for documents associated with an unpublished report on sexual harassment in DHS law enforcement. House Oversight Committee Chairman Carolyn Maloney (DN.Y.) and Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said they were troubled by reports that Cuffari’s office allegedly sought to delete the conclusions of the draft report, as well as another already published. domestic violence report. Lawmakers want answers from the IG by May 24.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency is delaying plans to close a lab in Houston after closing other facilities. The EPA tells employees it is pushing back plans to relocate staff from Houston to another facility about 400 miles away in Ada, Oklahoma. The agency initially planned to relocate employees no later than 2023, but is now pushing those plans to 2027. The relocation would affect about 30 EPA lab employees and 11 contractor employees. The EPA has closed other regional labs in recent years, including Richmond, California, Grosse Ile, Michigan and Las Vegas. (Federal News Network)
  • The Department of Defense may be rethinking its classification of space programs. Since the Space Force’s inception, some military officials have complained that too much classification was a problem for connecting with new companies. The top DoD space official said the Pentagon is now considering changing its classification of space programs and working with Congress if necessary.
  • The Navy says its fleet is too small for its mission, but is the mission reasonable? The chief of naval operations said the service’s fleet was too small to handle two major conflicts simultaneously. The Navy currently has about 300 ships. Admiral Michael Gilday proposed expanding the navy to 500 ships. However, many lawmakers wonder whether the United States should prepare for a two-front war given the current landscape. The Department of Defense is revamping its national defense strategy, which could lower the bar for what the military should be responsible for.
  • At least a handful of military academy students are facing serious financial consequences due to their refusal to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The Air Force Academy said it has four cadets who refused vaccines, because of which they would be barred from graduating and becoming commissioned officers. But a spokesperson said their status could change by graduation day as they “weighed the consequences”. Air Force officials said cadets could also be required to repay hundreds of dollars in tuition. The final decision would rest with the Secretary of the Air Force. Army and Navy service academy officials said they had no graduate students who refused COVID vaccines. (Federal News Network)
  • Six weeks after suspending the $50 billion contract for small businesses known as Polaris, the General Services Administration has come out with suggested changes. Small businesses have an opportunity to weigh in on changes the GSA wants to make to the Polaris solicitation. The GSA released updated draft text on Friday, as part of its decision to revamp the requirements for mentor-protégé and joint venture bidders. The GSA, which worked with the Small SBA on draft edits, asks proteges to provide at least one primary relevant experience project or one relevant emerging technology experience project. The mentor cannot provide more than three main relevant experience projects. The original RFP did not require the protege to provide examples of relevant experience. Sellers have until May 23 to provide feedback. (Federal News Network)
  • Agencies spent $420 billion in fiscal year 2021 on common goods and services that fall under the government-wide category management initiative. That was $20 billion more than in 2020 despite fewer deals and contracts. The Government Accountability Office said category management is one of many areas of procurement where agencies could make more progress to reduce costs and duplication. GAO said in its semi-annual government duplication report that the Office of Management and Budget needs to address agency data management challenges and establish additional performance metrics to help realize further savings, as well as potentially eliminating duplicate contracts.
  • Agencies and industry are charting the course for securing open source software. The Linux Foundation and Open Source Software Security Foundation said the plan is backed by about $150 million in industry funding over the next two years. Goals include increasing the security of open source production, improving detection and remediation of vulnerabilities, and speeding up the time it takes to patch systems. The White House, the Cyber ​​Security and Infrastructure Security Agency, and other agencies helped craft the plan.
  • A new person walks over to the Merit System Protection Board. Tiffany Lightbourn will join the MSPB as director of policy and evaluation at council headquarters. In the role, Lightbourn will lead nonpartisan studies that evaluate council policies and programs guiding federal labor cases. The MSPB’s Office of Policy and Evaluation regularly shares its findings and recommendations with the White House, Congress, and other stakeholders. Prior to joining MSPB, Lightbourn served as Director of Human Resources Shared Services at the IRS.

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