HR Headline Roundup for December 16-20, 2019

2 Dead, 1 Injured in Shooting at Winston-Salem Public Works Facility, Winston-Salem Journal

Local police on Dec. 20, 2019, killed a sanitation worker who murdered one coworker and injured another in what appears to be the culmination of a long-running personal dispute. The deadly incident followed by a day a physical confrontation between the gunman and the deceased victim, 49-year-old Terry Lee Cobb Jr. Law enforcement took just four minutes to respond to reports of the shooting, and the injured survivor is expected to recover following surgery. During a press conference, Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines confirmed that city employees are prohibited from bringing guns to work, but he also acknowledged that no metal detectors or other measures are in place to enforce the gun-free workplace policy. Joines promised to commission a thorough review of safety procedures.

 

Naming the 2019 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government, Partnership for Public Service

NASA again topped the list of large agencies, scoring the best on criteria such as leadership effectiveness, pay, work-life balance and teamwork. The other highest-rated agencies and offices in other categories are the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, U.S. International Trade Commission and Office of Inspector General at the Tennessee Valley Authority. Full rankings and profiles appear on the Partnership website. Notably, several agencies lost ground from already-low 2018 ratings. One those is the Social Security Administration, which recently cancelled all telework arrangements.

 

3.1 Pct. Raise, Paid Family Leave for Feds Headline 2020 Appropriation Bills, Government Executive

Congress approved some $1.4 trillion in U.S. government spending during the current fiscal year. In addition to the raises and new leave benefit, funds will be available to accelerate hiring at several agencies and the federal contribution to Special Olympics is maintained. Most of the Trump administration’s plans to reorganize agencies remain unfunded.

 

Federal Appeals Court Declares ACA's Individual Mandate Unconstitutional, Punts on Scrapping Entire Law, Law.com

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit agreed with the ruling of federal district court judge in Texas that requiring individuals to purchase health insurance was unconstitutional. The appellate court stopped short, however, of invalidating the entirety of the Affordable Care Act. The case now returns to the district level for additional arguments, with the real-world effect being that the ACA remains mostly in effect through at least 2020. The PBS Newshour offers a good explainer.

 

With Healthy Budgets, Dozens of States Give Raises to Workers, Route Fifty

Analyses done by the National Association of State Budget Officers revealed that 37 states approved pay increases to some or all their employees. Approaches vary widely, with this article noting, for instance, that “14 states provided for at least some salary increases based on merit in fiscal 2020 and 15 made other changes, like one-time bonuses or ‘longevity payments’ for veteran workers.”

 

Few BLM Employees Agree to Relocate as Interior Tries to Ease the Pain of Those It Will Fire, Government Executive

Just 2 of 160 Bureau of Land Management employees agreed to move from Washington, D.C., to Grand Junction, Colo. Early retirements, buyouts and reassignments are available depending on individuals’ circumstances.

 

New Orleans Still Recovering From Cyberattack That Prompted Mayor to Declare State of Emergency, NOLA.com

More than 30 National Guard personnel and “about 20 industry partners” have only been able to help city IT staff restore 10 of 450 servers taken down by an email phishing attack on December 13. Ransomware has been found, and several critical systems remain offline a week later.

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