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FCW Insider: Oct. 22

Technology Modernization Fund awards topped the $100 million mark with two new deals announced Oct. 21. The Department of Agriculture and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission each got awards to move old systems into the cloud. The awards are the first in fiscal year 2020 and come as the fund is coming close to maxing out with prospects for a new appropriation unclear. Mark Rockwell has the story.

A new toolkit from the Office of Personnel Management focuses on using data to understand and improve employee-manager relations. The move comes as the 2019 results of the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey near release. Lia Russell reports.

The Department of Homeland Security announced it would eliminate conflict-of-interest restrictions in a pair of intertwined procurements with a combined ceiling value of $4 billion. The changes to the two financial management solicitations allow vendors to bid on both. Adam Mazmanian has more.

The IRS should focus the next year on modernizing IT, improving security controls for its primary e-filing tool, eliminating critical vulnerabilities in servers used for personal devices and addressing its "serious" human capital crisis, according to auditors at the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Derek B. Johnson explains.

Quick Hits

*** Deloitte's Combiz Abdolrahmini, who has also worked for the Departments of Homeland Security, Treasury and State, won ACT-IAC's 2019 Ginny McCormick Award on Oct. 21. Abdolrahmini, who was an FCW Rising Star in 2018, was recognized by ACT-IAC for his wide-ranging work to encourage collaboration in the federal IT community.

Also honored at ACT-IAC's Imagine Nation conference in Philadelphia as outstanding individual contributors were Department of Energy Chief Information Security Officer Steven Hernandez and ASRC Vice President of Information Security and Chief Information Security Officer Darren Death.

*** Auditors are teaming up with the U.S. Digital Service to examine how effectively the U.S. Census Bureau is protecting IT systems that support the 2020 population count. In an Oct. 17 letter to Census Director Steven Dillingham, Assistant Inspector General Frederick Meny announced that his office has entered into a memorandum of understanding with USDS to assist in the audit, which will begin immediately.

*** Former Economic Research Services data scientist Andrew Crane-Droesch writes in a Washington Post op-ed that the move of the agency from Washington, D.C., to the Kansas City region was done because Trump administration officials, in particular Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, wanted employees to quit. "They didn’t like it when our research was at odds with the administration’s narratives," Crane-Droesch states. He notes that just 39 of 180 employees offered relocation agreed to move and that two-thirds of the positions at ERS are vacant.

"At ERS … I was one of very few people in government who knew how to apply machine learning tools to problems of agriculture and climate change, and I had colleagues who had honed even more arcane backgrounds and skill-sets," he said. "Now, the public will lose the targeted expertise we developed on their behalf.

Posted by FCW Staff on Oct 22, 2019 at 2:39 AM


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