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PMA's Monthly Newsletter

August 27, 2022

PMA members enjoy unlimited access to our archive of award-winning newsletters through our member portal. Not yet a member? Complete a Form SF-1187 PMA & send it to membership@promanager.org today!

Inflation Reduction Act Makes History

By now, we are all aware of this historic legislation and its investment in our agency. We are most proud of successfully advocating for those funds to be allocated in a multi-year fashion. The bill contains the first major investment in the Internal Revenue Service in more than 60 years.

Earlier this month, Commissioner Rettig reached out personally to invite PMA to engage on the IRA office and we are honored to be a part of these agency discussions. Our voice is necessary to be sure we chart the proper course for a bright future.

We are also aware of the many safety and security concerns our members have after the bill's passage. Negative talk about IRS workers began in July when lawmakers accused the IRS of partisan audits and reached a fever pitch in the last two weeks. PMA has been very active in the media and online to share the truth about the IRS’s needs, the act’s contents, and our plans for the future.

IRS + PMA

We are grateful to W&I Customer Account Services (CAS) Director Dietra Grant for hosting a briefing for PMA leadership on the AM and SP surge teams, their progress in addressing the inventory backlog, and her team's recommendations for the balance of the year. We are proud of our members in AM and SP who are working in extremely difficult conditions to help our taxpayers. We also know there is much more to do and very little room for error. PMA will support CAS in its recruiting efforts as it uses Direct Hire Authority to fill roles around SP later this year.

We also extend our gratitude to HCO Customer Relations Director Keith Walker, the HCO leadership team, and our peers in the Federal Managers Association, for attending a PMA-led demonstration of Manager Advantage. Manager Advantage is a powerful research tool which would benefit all IRS managers and acting managers by providing a comprehensive LR research tool to guide you. It is a complement to cyberFEDS, the research tool that Labor Relations Specialists use to research cases. Rather than having to call your LRS to ask a question, you would have the ability to log into a system and find the response on your own. We think this will support managers struggling to implement complex HCO policies such as those around AWOL, LWOP, telework, and reasonable accommodations. It's a tool that many agencies already use and we are committed to bringing it to managers throughout the IRS and Treasury.

Association Updates

Our staff and National Board have been busy this summer making improvements to our website and operational processes so that we can serve you better. You'll notice some changes to our website now and over the next two months as we take all of your aggregated feedback and make it simpler to navigate. We are also introducing a series of guest articles and blogs, and a new events page. We've also implemented an electronic professional development grant application for the first time in our history.

Now that everyone is coming back into the office, PMA is resuming in-person engagements. We are excited to meet TAS leaders at their annual meeting in Indianapolis and then SB/SE leaders in Washington DC next month. We are also very excited to meet our members and formalize PMA's newest chapter in Puerto Rico in November. In-person meetings allow us to hear from members candidly and directly, give you an opportunity to meet our partners and learn more about how they can support you in your federal career and retirement, and to come together to see how PMA is working for you.

You'll also note some changes to how we communicate. We know that managers are overwhelmed by emails and we want our messages to support you, not burden your inbox. We are working to eliminate repetition and to focus our messages around a theme so they are shorter and you know what to expect. We will send out sponsor and benefits information, then information about events, then information about important news or legislation, then our new monthly newsletter. We are always available to speak with you and hear from you via email.

We will be implementing additional upgrades and new benefits in the months to come. Look out for an online process to request assistance from our association, chances to engage with our newly forming Advisory Board, and presentations from a series of new partners.

Legislative Updates

We've been busy on the Hill working to advance bills we've previously endorsed and trying to keep the Senate focused on our need for an appropriation in just a few short weeks. Apart from our primary legislative achievement—the Inflation Reduction Act—we are also proud to share that the Social Security Fairness Act is finally on the House calendar for a vote. Its best chance of passage in the current session is by folding it into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) as part of annual appropriation.

We also want you to be aware of the present lack of a budget for FY23. The House did its job and passed the bills necessary to fund our government. Those dozen pieces of legislation are held up in the Senate and a continuing resolution is likely. Even with the IRA's passage, we still require an annual appropriation to remain open and operating as usual. We are trying to leverage the backlog and the country's fragile economic indicators to bring senators to the table.

Of critical importance to you, the Public Service Reform Act is pending legislation to make the federal workforce employed at-will. This legislation is dangerous, and fatal to our apolitical Civil Service. It will take us back to the 19th century spoils system. We cannot overstate how important it is for members to oppose this harmful legislation. Sadly, people who should know better are easily fooled, like former Treasury CHCO Anita Blair who wrote in support of the bill earlier this month. To be sure, we've been advocating for civil service reform for years, here is a letter we sent in 2018. This is not the correct way to fix our problems. Making the workforce at-will, or imposing a "purge" in the form a renewed Schedule F, is a damaging expansion of presidential power, and it merely provides cover for Congress who have failed to modernize the Civil Service for generations. We endorse all legislative remedies to insulate the Civil Service but, more than that, we are working with congressional partners to develop bills that make common sense improvements to our merit-based framework.

Considering Retiring at the End of 2022?

If you've made the decision to retire at the end of the year, the time is now to submit your application so the IRS has plenty of time to process it ahead of your departure. Then, be sure to sign up for a PMA Lifetime Membership so that we can continue to work for you during your retirement.

PMA is very close to achieving its longstanding policy goal of repealing the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO). H.R. 82, the Social Security Fairness Act, was added to the House floor calendar with 294 co-sponsors, a bipartisan majority. The bill would repeal both the WEP and GPO, benefitting retirees and surviving spouses as soon as January.

When you're retired, you may want to put your IRS knowledge to work under a personal services contract. Our partner, the Treasury's Office of Technical Assistance, is looking for IRS managers about to retire and recently retired IRS managers to serve in consulting roles supporting tax authorities around the world. Learn more on SAM.gov.

Don't miss federal benefits expert Tammy Flanagan's post from this week to be sure your retirement is processed without a hitch.

PMA@40 - Join Us Now

PMA is the only association advocating exclusively on behalf of IRS managers, management officials, other non-bargaining workers, leadership development program participants, and retirees from those roles. Through our renewed relationship with the IRS, we’ve worked to identify problems and recommend solutions around many complex workforce issues such as performance pay, leave, professional liability, and safety, to name only a few. We are working diligently to strengthen the IRS and enhance management through our relationships in Congress - at times even sharing our members' individual stories to fortify congressional understanding of our working conditions. We do all of this and more for only $4.50 per pay period – an incredible value.

If you're reading this and you're not yet a member, use the attached form to join us today! If you know a retiree who would benefit from our advocacy, we offer lifetime memberships to them for a one-time payment. Membership also comes with many additional benefits such as discounted rates from our sponsors GEICO and FEDS Protection. PMA members participating in a FEHB plan can get free, state-of-the-art hearing aids through our partner Eargo. Just mention PMA and they will waive your copay for most health plans. This benefit is available to anyone in your family using your FEHB plan.

Don't forget to follow PMA on social media. You can forward this email to your personal address to check out our Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter channels.

IMF/BMF@60

The Individual and Business Master Files (IMF, BMF) celebrate their 60th birthday this year! PMA wants to help Congress and the American public appreciate how badly the IRS needs modernization funding. Part of our IMF/BMF@60 campaign will feature facts and context to help frame the true age of our primary computing database. As a reminder, the IRS still relies on the oldest continually operating database in the entire federal government.

The board game Operation was invented by an industrial design student in 1964, just two years after our computer databases were deployed nationwide. The prototype was purchase by toy design firm Marvin Glass and Associates for $500 (nearly $4,800 today) and it was first published in 1965. The game has become so ubiquitous in American culture that it even inspired a real-life operation that's helped thousands of people. In 1991, when the IMF and BMF were nearly 30 years old, a surgeon who grew up playing the game adapted its buzzer technology to assist in thyroid surgeries to protect patients' vocal cords.

Lapse in Appropriations Workshops

The IRS invites all managers to attend one of four Saba workshops to learn what actions to take in case of a lapse in appropriations government shutdown.

August 29th

1 PM Eastern NKQ395072
7 PM Eastern MRL479413

August 30th

1 PM Eastern HMR517119
7 PM Eastern PPL589122

Review the self-enrollment job aid for the Saba meeting “Government Shutdown — What Managers Need to Know” workshops:

  1. Login to Saba Meeting using your IRS-issued device. If you do not have an account, select Create Your Saba Meeting Account located in the New User box.
  2. Select Enrollment on the left navigation box.
  3. In the Event Name box, type Government Shutdown; do NOT add a space at the end.
  4. Select the Search button.
  5. Only select sessions with the Government Shutdown title.
  6. Select Enroll.
Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness

Through October 31, 2022, federal student loan borrowers can take advantage of temporary changes to the PSLF program made as a result of the COVID-19 national emergency. Millions of government and non-profit employees have federal student loans and may now be eligible for loan forgiveness or additional credit toward forgiveness under these time-limited PSLF changes.

Determine your eligibility.

You can view A PSA About the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program with OPM Director Kiran Ahuja to learn more.

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