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Agencies, Good-Government Groups Address Congress on Civil Service Reform

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee held a roundtable last week for agencies and good-government groups to weigh in on civil service reform. 

Each of the groups stressed a need for change, emphasizing the antiquated characteristics afflicting the current civil service system.

Robert Goldenkoff, director of strategic issues at the Government Accountability Office (GAO), noted at the Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management Subcommittee meeting that 15 of GAO’s 34 areas on its 2017 high risk list related to skills gap issues. The federal government’s classification system, recruiting and hiring procedures, pay system, performance management and employee engagement all represented areas for improvement, he said.

President Teresa Gerton of the National Academy of Public Administration expressed a need for reforms to originate within government over Congress.

Gerton said that “absent wholesale civil service reform,” lesser legislative changes would not be as effective as improving relations between human resources and hiring managers.

Committee chair Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., vowed in February to hear a “wide variety of viewpoints” in order to draft “comprehensive reforms.”

NAPA was joined at the roundtable by representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The two agencies consulted with NAPA in recent years to improve their personnel systems. Dia Taylor, CDC’s chief human capital officer, said the agency’s “partnering to win” initiative successfully improved its applicant pool, cut the hiring process by several weeks and improved customer satisfaction, reports GovExec.

In closing, Gerton said agencies should focus on “additional leadership commitment at the most senior levels of departments and agencies; stronger capacity in federal HR offices; a deeper partnership between HR and hiring managers; more effective change management practices; and enhanced oversight, monitoring and evaluation.”

 

 

 

 

Posted in From the Hill

Tags: GAO, civil service reform

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