Congress

House panel to move on IT, workforce measures

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The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will mark up a group of six bills on Jan. 12, as legislators attempt to address the security of federal information systems, workforce issues and administrative leave.

The Federal Information Systems Safeguards Act of 2016, sponsored by Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.), is designed to put agency heads in the hot seat when it comes to cyber risks. The bill gives cabinet secretaries and agency heads "the sole and exclusive authority… to take any action the agency determines to be necessary" to minimize or eradicate present and future security risks and in the information technology system.

The Government Neutrality in Contracting Act, backed by South Carolina Republican Mick Mulvaney, would prohibit the government from showing any favoritism toward union shops when awarding government contracts.

The Senior Executive Service Accountability Act, sponsored by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), seeks to increase accountability within the SES by introducing "biennial justifications" for senior executive service positions and by extending the probationary period for career appointees from one year to two. Additionally, the bill would set timely procedures to suspend, remove or reassign SES employees for poor performance or misconduct. A bill from Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) covers some of the same ground, and also extends the probationary period for a larger share of federal civil servants.

Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), meanwhile, is offering the Official Personnel File Enhancement Act to require agency leaders to permanently note any findings of a government investigation in the accused employee's personnel file. And Chaffetz's Administration Leave Reform Act would limit the time a federal employee can be placed on administrative leave for misconduct or poor performance to 14 days.

About the Author

Chase Gunter is a staff writer covering civilian agencies, workforce issues, health IT, open data and innovation.

Prior to joining FCW, Gunter reported for the C-Ville Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., and served as a college sports beat writer for the South Boston (Va.) News and Record. He started at FCW as an editorial fellow before joining the team full-time as a reporter.

Gunter is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where his emphases were English, history and media studies.

Click here for previous articles by Gunter, or connect with him on Twitter: @WChaseGunter

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