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FMA Washington Report: May 10, 2021
This report provides an update on issues affecting federal managers. As always, I encourage you to visit www.fedmanagers.org
on a regular basis for more information on these and other matters.
Also, be sure to look for the FMA Grassroots Update where we offer links to action letters and FMA-PAC matters we do not address in the Washington Report. The grassroots newsletter is sent exclusively to non-governmental email addresses to avoid any Hatch Act violations. If you are not receiving it, contact the national office to provide your non-governmental email address.
Please feel free to provide feedback any time by emailing Greg Stanford at email@example.com
, or by calling the National Office at (703) 683-8700. Thank you for your membership in FMA. It’s an honor to represent your interests before Congress and the administration.
FMA Working For You!
FMA President Thanks Feds and All Public Servants during Public Service Recognition Week
The annual Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW) was May 2-8. FMA National President Craig Carter praised the work of FMA members, offering encouragement and gratitude to federal employees, and all public servants.
Celebrated annually during the first week of May since 1985, Public Service Recognition Week is time set aside to honor the men and women who serve our nation as federal, state, county and local government employees. Throughout the country, elected officials, agency leaders, communities and public service organizations participate in PSRW by issuing proclamations, hosting award ceremonies and special tribute events, and delivering messages about the value of public service.
"I want to take a moment to thank my Federal Manager Association colleagues and all public servants at the federal, state and local levels. Much of what we accomplish is taken for granted, but we all know public servants strive to provide exceptional service to all Americans every day. This was made abundantly evident by how public servants have shined throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, carrying on their missions, maintaining a high level of service to fellow citizens despite extraordinary circumstances and personal dangers," Carter stated. "It is fitting that this year’s theme is ‘GovPossible.’ Feds have demonstrated, even in the midst of a global pandemic, their utmost dedication, commitment, energy and purpose on behalf of all Americans, and shown what is possible thanks to their service."
Detailed Guidance from OPM on Covid-19 Emergency Paid Leave
On April 29, Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Acting Director Kathleen McGettigan sent a memo to all agencies regarding Covid-19 Emergency Paid Leave (EPL). FMA’s Todd Wells and Greg Stanford joined officials from OPM, OMB, and the White House on May 5, 2021, to discuss the guidance and other related issues.
In March, Congress authorized a $570 million fund, administered by OPM, for Covid-19 emergency paid leave through the end of Fiscal Year 2021 via passage of the American Rescue Plan of 2021 (P.L. 117-2). It provides federal employees covered under the Title 5 annual leave and sick leave program fifteen weeks of paid leave for Covid-19 related reasons from March 11 through September 30, 2021.
OPM outlined eight qualifying circumstances, and the employee must be unable to work (including telework) due to one of the circumstances:
2020 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Results Announced
The 2020 Governmentwide Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) results were released on April 26. FMA joined a small briefing for the good government community on April 28 to learn more about the results.
Upon release, OPM said, “federal employees demonstrated remarkable resilience during a year of unprecedented hardship, maintaining a high standard of work quality, commitment to agency goals and connection to their colleagues despite disruption to the traditional ways in which work is conducted. The workforce’s ability to adapt and exhibit this resilience opens the door to new possibilities as the government begins to contemplate the future of federal work in the post-pandemic world.”
Biden Nominee for OPM Director Shines in Confirmation Hearing
On April 22, Kiran Ahuja, President Biden’s pick as Director of OPM, testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in a confirmation hearing. FMA National President Craig Carter endorsed Ahuja’s nomination to lead OPM.
In a February press release applauding her selection, Carter said, “FMA is pleased with Kiran Ahuja’s nomination as Director, and believe she is an exceptional choice to lead OPM. Her previous experience and service – including several years as chief of staff at OPM – ensure she has the background and qualifications to effectively lead this agency at this critical time.”
Senate Confirms Jason Miller as OMB Deputy Director for Management
On April 27, the U.S. Senate confirmed Jason Miller as Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). He was confirmed by a vote of 81-13. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee advanced his nomination with a voice vote on April 14. OMB oversees the implementation of the President’s vision across the Executive Branch. The Deputy Director for Management focuses on the administration’s management priorities.
Miller served in President Obama’s administration as an economic advisor. In his March 4 confirmation hearing, Miller touched on many issues of interest during his hearing, including recruitment and retention within the federal workforce, employee engagement, federal hiring, and OMB’s relationship with Inspectors General, along with a commitment to transparency and improving financial oversight.
House Government Operations Committee Leadership Urges Action on MSPB
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA), Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Government Operations, sent a bipartisan letter to President Biden on April 5, urging the president to nominate qualified board members to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). FMA has been active on this 2021 issue brief, noting the severe negative impact the lack of a quorum at MSPB has on agencies and individuals with pending cases – a backlog of more than 3,000 cases – and we applaud the letter sent by Connolly and Hice.
“Without a quorum, the MSPB is unable to act on claims of whistleblower retaliation and is at risk of essentially having to cease its operations,” they wrote. “We respectfully request that you prioritize the nominations of new Board members. Once your nominations are made, we trust that the Senate will work quickly to confirm the qualified candidates to the MSPB and restore the Board to full operations,” they concluded.
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FMA Hosting COVID-19, EEO Laws, and Issues Concerning Return to the Workplace Webinar
Join Sharon Rennert, Senior Attorney Advisor for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, for her presentation on issues such as reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities, responding to requests for assistance related to issues such as child/family care, and confidentiality issues. This event will be open to all FMA members, and will conclude with a Q&A period with Ms. Rennert. The return to the workplace is a complicated issue on many levels, and we are grateful to have Ms. Rennert’s assistance with helping our managers tackle this facet of the issue.