FMA’s Take on the Agency Reorganization Proposals
It has been two weeks since the administration formally unveiled its long-awaited agency reorganization plan, called “Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century.” We at FMA have heard from many of our members and continue to analyze the merits for reform.
Our membership makes up the frontline managers who will be charged with implementation of any overhaul to the workforce. As such, we have repeatedly expressed concern about an overall lack of transparency with the process this reorganization effort has taken and have urged Congress to conduct bipartisan oversight. As we have stated from the beginning of this process, FMA fully supports the notion of making the federal government as efficient and effective as possible. Change can be necessary and good, including when it comes to civil service reform. There are certainly areas ripe for reform, including eliminating redundancies, consolidating data centers and expanding shared services. The General Schedule is nearly 70 years old and the Civil Service Reform Act is nearly 40 years of age as well.
FMA is open to and welcomes proposals that would help to modernize and improve the civil service. However, federal employees cannot blindly support proposals that call for workforce reductions as the administration looks to diminish the Office of Personnel Management, combine the Departments of Labor and Education, and privatize the United States Postal Service, among many other proposals.
We applaud the House Oversight and Government Reform (OGR) Committee for holding a hearing on this matter on June 27, and anticipate future hearings by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. FMA shares concerns expressed by Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) regarding cost-benefit analysis, and impacts on the people who make up the federal workforce. At the OGR hearing, Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director for Management Margaret Weichert said, “What we do not have is too many federal employees.” This sounds good, but we note the April 2017 OMB memorandum, M-17-22, which kicked off the administration’s reorganization effort, was titled, “Comprehensive Plan for Reforming the Federal Government and Reducing the Federal Civilian Workforce.”
FMA recently met with leaders at many departments and agencies, including Office of Personnel Management Director Jeff Pon. FMA members stand ready to serve as a resource and take on more leadership roles as the civil service works to modernize. We seek to continue a constructive conversation with the administration and Congress to foster new ideas on how to make government more efficient and effective.
For any major reform and reorganization to be successful, especially on the magnitude of the federal government, OMB and the administration must cooperate and work together. And FMA and other federal employee organizations whose stakeholders make up the workforce must have a seat at the table as decision makers meet to build on what currently works, and improve what needs to be done better. We have a particular interest in how proposals may impact current employees, recruitment and retention, and how reorganization may impact agency missions and services Americans rely on. The Federal Managers Association looks forward to an open and honest discussion as we grapple with the many challenges of such a reform.
Written by the Federal Managers Association (FMA). To learn more, visit their website: FedManagers.org
Posted in Hear it from FMA