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- The soon-to-be Biden administration now has a menu of where to stick people to carry out its agenda. Just ahead of New Year’s Eve, the Government Publishing Office released the latest Plum Book, a compendium of 9,000 policy and supporting positions in the government. That is, the positions available for appointees hired non-competitively. You can still order a hard copy from GPO’s website, or get it online at govinfo.gov. The electronic version is searchable by agency, title, appointment type and several other criteria. There is a mobile version too.
- For the first time, a woman may serve as the second-highest official in the Pentagon. President-elect Joe Biden said he will nominate Kathleen Hicks as the deputy defense secretary once he takes office. Hicks will have to be confirmed by the Senate and will be the first woman to hold the office. She has been working as the Senior Vice President and Director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Before that she served at the deputy undersecretary of defense for strategy, plans, and forces and the principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy.
- Colin Kahl is President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for undersecretary of defense for policy. Kahl is currently a co-director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation. He was also a deputy assistant to President Obama and served as national security adviser to Biden when he was vice president.
- An agency watchdog is raising data-quality concerns over 2020 Census responses. The Commerce Department inspector general says more than half a million Census responses may not be accurate. This issue stems from a review of the Census Bureau’s re-interview process of households during non-response follow-ups. The IG found Census workers didn’t re-interview 18% of their selected caseload and reported clerical errors for tens of thousands of completed cases. The IG said the pandemic created significant challenges for field operations.
- President Donald Trump has signed a bill, good through 2023, that waves premium pay caps for Secret Service employees performing protective services. The Secret Service Overtime Pay Extension Act will allow eligible employees to receive premium pay up to level two of the Executive Schedule, which currently stands at more than $197,000 a year. Congress passed a similar bill in 2018 raising pay caps through 2020.