Here are a few stories that caught our attention on Monday:

Fixing federal pay requires reliable facts: Pay consultant Howard Risher says that the current models for comparing public- and private-sector pay are flawed, arguing that the methods being used to show how compensation matches up are “locked in a time warp” and “unable to respond to labor markets trends.” He expects this to pose a big problem when the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee begins hearings on federal pay under its incoming chairman, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who has signaled a desire to tackle the contentious issue. “There is broad agreement federal pay should be competitive. But until the facts are accepted, the argument will continue,” Risher said in a Government Executive editorial.

Who might succeed Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel? Potential candidates include: Michèle Flournoy, who served as undersecretary of defense for policy while Robert Gates and Leon Panetta ran the Pentagon; Robert Work, a retired Marine colonel and the current deputy defense secretary; and Ashton Carter, who served as the Pentagon’s No. 2 official from October 2011 until December 2013 but stepped down after President Obama bypassed him in favor of Hagel. Read more analysis from The Washington Post’s Checkpoint blog.

Is the National Weather Service to blame for Buffalo’s lackluster snow response? New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo thinks so. He said over the weekend that the National Weather Service was “off” in its forecast leading up to the enormous blast of lake-effect snow last week, but his assessment drew fire from weather experts, who contend that the forecast was accurate, according to a Post Nation article.

A sneak peak at the FAA’s new drone rules: The much-anticipated federal rules on commercial drones are expected to require operators’ licenses and “limit flights to daylight hours, below 400 feet and within sight of the person at the controls,” according to a Wall Street Journal report.

VA cuts ties with contractor that sought to ‘assassinate’ official’s character: The Department of Veterans Affairs recently severed ties to a politically connected contractor after an investigation found that officials for the firm, FedBid, plotted to “assassinate” the character of a top VA acquisition official in 2012, according to a Washington Times article.

Former federal officials call for reform to Senior Executive Service: Former federal officials including Daniel Werfel, who served as controller for the Office of Management and Budget, and Bob Hale, who was comptroller for the Pentagon, said at a Brookings Institution discussion that the SES could suffer from recruiting problems because of public and congressional criticism, according to a Federal Times article.