December 24, 2015

Please find a copy of the OPM memorandum excusing Federal employees from duty for the last half of the scheduled workday on Thursday, December 24, 2015, here.

Answers to 18 related frequently asked questions are also posted here.

Year in Review

The FEAWM full membership meeting was held on Dec 8, at the Bluebonnet in Noho. Many thanks to all who could attend. Meeting minutes have been posted to the web site. Presented at the meeting was the 2015 Year in Review, available here, highlighting the great work of the Committees. Also, this was Jeff Anliker’s final official function as our Program Director. Jeff is a charter member and cornerstone of the Association, we wish him all the best in semi-retirement! Many thanks Jeff!

OPM Launches New Cyber Security Resource Center

Today, the US Office of Personnel Management established a verification center to help individuals who have had their information stolen in the malicious cyber intrusion carried out against the Federal Government. This verification center will help those who believe their data may have been taken but have not received a notification letter from the government.

The center will also assist individuals who have received a letter letting them know they were impacted by the background investigation records intrusion, but who have lost the PIN code that allows them to sign up for the free services that the Federal Government is providing.

While OPM is not aware of any misuse of your information, they are offering you, and any of your dependent minor children who were under the age of 18 as of July 1, 2015, credit and identity monitoring, identity theft insurance, and identity restoration services for the next three years through ID Experts, a company that specializes in identity theft protection.

To learn more, visit:
https://www.opm.gov/cybersecurity

2016 General Schedule Localities and Rates

The President has transmitted to Congress a list of localities and rates for 2016. The list includes the new Albany-Schenectady locality.

This is posted as an alternative plan, meaning its an alternative from the plan that would be in place by statute. And of course, the alternative plan has lower locality adjustments than the statutory one. The good news, though, is that the overall raise should be around 1.3%, 1.0% to base and 0.3% (on average) to the locality adjustments.

Full salary tables should follow soon.

Localities and Rates (table from here)

FY16 National Defense Authorization Act Signed

The NDAA was originally vetoed, but after the budget deal was struck it was resubmitted to the President and signed into law on Nov. 25. This does not appropriate any money to the DoD, but it lays out major policies, programs, and projects, which should be funded by the Defense appropriation.

Interim FY16 spending authority is currently appropriated to all departments by a Continuing Resolution, set to expire Dec. 11, 2016.

Text of the NDAA is available here

Collecting Agency IT Points of Contact

The FEAWM Chair is putting together a training workshop to discuss the NIST Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity and how it can be applied to the federal and mission partner cyber environment associated with western Massachusetts. The goal is a workshop at HCC in the Jan/Feb timeframe, with a NIST or other agency specialist, who can walk the group through the framework and how it can be used. If you know someone in your agency that might be interested in this, please have them write to:
feawmass@gmail.com
and they will be included in the planning.
The NIST Framework can be reviewed here.

President’s Pay Agent Memo

Not sure if this affects anyone in the 413, but FEB Greater Boston sent out a message with the memo linked below. Its a Nov 20 memo from the President’s Pay Agent regarding the Continuation of Locality Payments for certain Non-General Schedule Employees.
If you have any follow up questions, please contact OPM’s Pay Systems Office at pay-leave-policy@opm.gov
Memo indicating Continuation of Locality Pay

Federal IT Continuity Webinar

Dear Continuity Professional:

Please join us on Wednesday, December 2, 2015, for the Continuity Webinar titled “National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) SP 800-34, Rev. 1, and Contingency Planning Guide for Federal Information Systems.” This month speaker is Kelley Dempsey from the National Institute of Standards and Technology at the Information Technology Laboratory/Computer Security Division. NIST Special Publication 800-34, Rev. 1, provides instructions, recommendations, and considerations for federal information system contingency planning. The webinar will provide an overview of the guidance including conducting a business impact analysis, identifying preventive controls, developing an information system contingency plan, and the importance of training on and testing of the contingency plan.

When:     Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Time:     2:00 PM – 3:00 PM, Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Speaker:  Kelley Dempsey, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Connection Options for Webinar:

1) Webinar (Do not need to dial into Audio Conference. Webinar can be heard through computer speakers.)

Click:   https://share.dhs.gov/dec2015

*             Enter as a guest.
*             Type your FIRST and LAST name.
*             Click “Enter Room.”

2) Audio Conference (Can be used if having trouble hearing Webinar through computer speakers. Please Dial In Prior to the Meeting Start Time.) While participating in the teleconference, please mute your phone.

*             Audio Conference Dial-In Number: 1-800-320-4330
*             Audio Conference pin: 377930

Technical Support

If your screen freezes or locks up during the Webinar, click the “Refresh” button, or close the window out and reopen.

For technical support questions, contact:

*             Adobe Connect Help Desk: 800-422-3623 or
*             E-mail: FEMA-ContinuityWebinar@fema.dhs.gov

If you have never attended a Connect Pro meeting before, please use the following instructions to test your computer connection before the meeting:

Conduct an Adobe Connect connection diagnostic test at:

http://helpx.adobe.com/adobe-connect/kb/connection-test-connect-meeting.html
If the test run is successful, your computer should be ready for any Adobe Connect web meeting. If not, you may be advised to install some “add on” features after the test, please do so as advised. If the Internet cannot display the page, please go to the advanced tab, Internet Options, and under Security check the box use TLS 1.0.

“NCP’s vision is to be the Nation’s center of excellence for government continuity planning, guidance, and operations. Our mission is to serve the public by protecting our Nation’s constitutional form of government”.

For additional information please contact us:

Email:

FEMA-ContinuityWebinar@fema.dhs.gov

Website:

http://www.fema.gov/continuity-operations

Continuity Updates:

Please help us get this message out by forwarding this bulletin to others and encouraging them to sign up for their own email updates by clicking here.

FEMA website link

Nate Spada
Regional Continuity Manager
DHS/FEMA Region I
99 High Street
Boston, MA 02110
(617) 832-4745 (o)
(617) 513-1290 (m)

Berkshire County Added to New Albany Pay Locality

After 11 years, the FEAWM has been successful in obtaining locality pay for Berkshire County! It will be part of the new Albany-Schenectady, NY locality pay area effective January 2016.

A special thank you to Patrick DeFalco, Fred Baron, and other members of the FEAWM Pay and Benefits Committee! They developed and delivered a proposal to the President’s Pay Agent recommending inclusion of Berkshire County in a locality pay area. Both Patrick and Fred traveled to and testified before the Federal Salary Council many times. Below is the link to the Federal Register Notice with the Final Rule.

New Pay Areas

FEAWM Board of Directors Elects a New Treasurer

The Board welcomes Miguel Gonzalez of the Veterans Administration to the post of Treasurer. He is currently going through commissioned officer training for the Air National Guard, and will assume his duties upon his return.

The Board extends great gratitude to the outgoing Treasurer, Karen Regish, of the USDA-NRCS. She stayed on as the Association searched for someone to take on the role, and did a great job throughout her years of service. Riegetorbactpa . Thanks, Karen, for your dedicated commitment to the effort. Keeping the books is a huge job for us, and you did it very well, for a very long time.