What Would the Reorg Plan Do to OPM, OMB and GSA?

Last week, the Trump administration released its long-awaited report on government reorganization. The 130-page document is sweeping in its scope – consisting of 34 proposals, in all – but among the ideas getting the most attention is one aimed at reshaping the federal landscape on matters relating to the federal workforce.

As summarized by Jeff Neal, author at ChiefHRO.com and former Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the proposal would “disestablish the Office of Personnel Management and move its functions to the Executive Office of the President and to the General Services Administration, which would be renamed as the Government Services Agency.”

Neal notes his view that “OPM’s most critical missions are policy and oversight. They are the reason the agency and its predecessor, the Civil Service Commission, were created.” Neal further contends that “policy and the advisory services that go with it have gotten a bit lost in the shuffle in OPM,” where “policy initiatives that could make a tremendous difference for the government, such as simplifying job classification and hiring, improving performance management, improving the SES, and other reforms…do not get the attention they deserve.”

Neal highlights the complaints of some groups that have opposed the plan, including the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), who called the move “a straightforward attempt to politicize the civil service.”

Other organizations, such as the Senior Executives Association, have called the plan a step in the right direction, if somewhat lacking in necessary details.

“Since 2001, GAO has listed human capital challenges as a ‘high risk issue’ facing the Federal government. Both the proposed structural streamlining – including the elevation of OPM to within the Executive Office of the President – and the added emphasis on OPM’s core functions of providing human capital policy and oversight solve many problems that have for nearly two decades plagued Federal human capital processes and practices,” said SEA President Bill Valdez in a statement released in support of the reorganization plan.  “Every major corporation in America has a C-Suite human capital office for a reason: it is a core business function that supports operating units and enables those operating units to be more effective and efficient.

“OPM’s current structure prevents it from being the expert consultative human capital office the Federal government desperately needs,” Valdez concluded.

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