Trump Administration Defends Agency Reorganization Proposal

The Trump administration has in the past week sought to ease concerns surrounding its recent proposal to reorganize a number of federal agencies, including the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and the Office of Management and Budget.

According to Federal News Radio’s Nicole Ogrysko, Margaret Weichert, the Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget, set out to convince lawmakers Wednesday that the administration’s proposals are grounded in sound reasoning.

Weichert argued that many of the criticisms of the reorganization plan were often unaccompanied by competing ideas to fix the underlying issues.

“I would invite folks to actually meet us in the realm of public debate,” Weichert said. “Bring the facts, bring the alternative proposals. That’s probably the most important thing. We’ve attempted to create a holistic path forward. Is it perfect? Of course it isn’t. Does it have elements of challenge and difficulty? Absolutely. What we attempted to do was actually put together a plan that was a holistic vision. To the extent people disagree with that, I absolutely welcome that debate.”

Weichert also suggested that some opposition to the reorganization of OPM is based on a failure to take a more holistic view of government modernization.

“Most of the people within OPM are effectively doing transaction processing related to HR paperwork,” she said. “They’re not thinking about these strategic issues. They’re not thinking about skills sets mismatches between the skills that were put in the [General] Schedule back in 1949 and what we need today.”

Federal employee unions have been vocally critical of the proposals, which would scale back official time, and some lawmakers have voiced questions, pressing for more details. Management organizations, such as the Senior Executives Association, have been generally supportive, suggesting that a sweeping modernization effort “could solve many problems that have for nearly two decades plagued Federal human capital processes and practices.”

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