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FMA Washington Report: June 13, 2022

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 gstanford@fedmanagers.org 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.

Legislative Outreach
FMA Endorses Bill to Improve Telework in the Federal Workforce

On June 7, Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and John Sarbanes (D-MD) introduced the Telework Metrics and Cost Savings Act (H.R. 7951). The Federal Managers Association (FMA) endorsed the legislation as an asset to the federal workforce. FMA endorsed the bill and was named in the press release upon introduction.

FMA National President Craig Carter made the following comments in support of the bill: “FMA is proud to endorse the Telework Metrics and Cost Savings Act as a commonsense approach to modernize the federal government’s telework programs, which was last significantly updated by the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010. Since that time, we have seen monumental advancements in technology and new realities as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Telework and remote work are viable, sustainable options for many jobs across the federal workforce, and H.R. 7951 would help strengthen these options based on lessons learned in recent years.

House Panel Advances FMA-Supported Hiring Bill

On Wednesday, May 11, the House Oversight and Reform Committee advanced the Building the Next Generation of Federal Employees Act (H.R. 6104). FMA supports the bill, sponsored by Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), which would revitalize federal internship and fellowship programs and create a pipeline of talent to federal service.

Specifically, the bill would:

• Establish a comprehensive Federal Internship and Fellowship Center within the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to administer, manage, and promote all federal internship and fellowship programs;

• Ensure federal interns are paid for their service;

• Direct OPM to establish an online internship and fellowship platform, creating a one stop-shop for agencies to post and individuals to find internship, fellowship, and scholarship opportunities from across the federal government;

• Codify the successful Pathways internship program; and,

• Provide successful federal interns credit when applying for federal positions through the competitive hiring process.

Sen. Padilla Introduces COLA Fairness Bill in the U.S. Senate

On May 16, Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA) introduced the Equal COLA Act (S. 4221). FMA endorsed this legislation, which is a companion bill to legislation (H.R. 304) introduced in the House of Representatives.

The Equal COLA Act would provide Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) retirees with a full cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). FERS retirees’ COLAs are reduced under current law: When the CPI-W increase is 3 percent or greater, as in 2022, the COLA is reduced by 1 percent. If the CPI-W is between 2 and 3 percent, FERS retirees see a 2 percent COLA, and when the CPI-W is less than 2 percent, the COLA is equal to the price index. The Equal COLA Act would allow FERS employees to combat inflation and maintain the value of their annuities.

Representatives Renew Effort to Provide Lifetime Protection for Feds Impacted by OPM Data Breach

Representatives Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) introduced the RECOVER Act of 2022 (H.R. 7657) in early May. The bill would provide lifetime identity protection coverage to federal employees affected by Office of Personnel Management (OPM) data breaches. FMA endorsed the bill and urge its passage into law.

H.R. 7657 covers current, former and prospective federal employees and contractors whose personal information was compromised by OPM data breaches in 2015. Following the data breaches, Congress approved a version of the Norton-Ruppersberger bill as part of a fiscal year 2017 appropriations bill. However, Congress only required OPM to provide the identity protection coverage to affected individuals through fiscal year 2026. H.R. 7657 requires OPM to provide the coverage for the remainder of the life of the affected individuals.

Agency Outreach
OPM Publishes New Guidance on Assessment and Hiring of Federal Job Candidates

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) recently shared new guidance in support of Executive Order (EO) 13932 - Modernizing and Reforming the Assessment and Hiring of Federal Job Candidates. That EO is aimed at helping managers hire the best and most qualified talent for positions, and helping agencies transition to “skills-based” hiring assessments. The goal is to move away from an over-reliance on degrees and occupational questionnaires as a proxy for ability.

OPM offered the following guidance:

OPM Releases the 2022 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey

The 2022 Office of Personnel Management Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (OPM FEVS) officially kicked off last week. The survey provides feds with a safe and confidential way to voice your opinions and experiences to leadership. Please go to https://www.opm.gov/fevs/ for more information on the survey.

The survey is administered to employees of Departments and large agencies and the small/independent agencies that accept an invitation to participate in the survey. It is conducted electronically, with eligible employees invited to participate by email notification. Participation is voluntary and you may use official time. The survey takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. The survey will conclude on Friday, 15 Jul 2022 @ 11:59 PM EST. Employees should be on the watch for survey invitation and reminder emails from ‘EVAF@OPM.gov’.

FMA Working For You!
FMA Chapter 373: DOJ Should Invest in, Standardize, and Improve Hiring Requirements for their Law Enforcement Officers/Agents

On May 31, FMA Chapter 373 (U.S. Marshals Service) issued a recommendation on the use of a polygraph examination and/or psychological assessment in the applicant hiring process for all federal law enforcement officers/agents at the U.S. Department of Justice in furtherance of the President's recent Executive Order on Advancing Effective, Accountable Policing and Criminal Justice Practices to Enhance Public Trust and Public Safety — Updated Approach to recruitment, hiring, promotion, and retention of law enforcement officers.

Click here to access Chapter 373’s letter.

News of Chapter 373’s work reached national levels, including NBC News. Congratulations to FMA’s Jason Wojdylo, Dave Barnes, and Chapter 373 for the recognition of their ongoing efforts.

What's Affecting Feds?
Updated Guidance from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force

On June 3, the Safer Federal Work Force Task Force published updated guidelines on several issues related to Covid-19 policies, including official travel, leave, mask-wearing, and other topics.

The updated guidance clarifies there are no government-wide limits on official travel, regardless of vaccination status. The guidance instructs employees to follow their agency’s travel policy and encourages agencies to inform employees of CDC guidelines and recommendations. The Task Force instructs agencies to follow CDC recommendations to decide when an employees should be required to test.

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  • Phone: (703) 683-8700
  • Fax: (703) 683-8707
  • Email: info@fedmanagers.org