New OPM Director Pon Promises Sweeping Modernization Effort

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Newly-installed U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Jeff Pon this week touted major OPM initiatives intended to address long-standing civil service reform issues.

on outlined his vision in a meeting yesterday with reporters. According to Federal News Radio’s Nicole Ogrysko, Pon said, “We’ve been nibbling around the edges of civil service reform in the [19]90s and also in the 2000s. We’ve looked at pay systems, but I’m really looking at wholesale change. We’re looking to make sure that the fabric of the civil service is ready for the next 40 years.”

Among the “data-driven” changes Pon envisions is the ability to “digitally track an employee’s entire federal career from recruitment and hiring to retirement,” changes to the veterans preference, and is “discussing options to modernize the SES with the Senior Executives Association.”


“We’re in discussions on how it should work, what types of training we need to have, what types of rotations we need to have, what type of credentials SES should have,” Pon explained. “It’s not just about a year or two-year probationary period. It’s literally looking at SES … as ‘our executive athletes’ for the government and making sure those 7,000 people can be a resource for the whole of government versus just one agency or a sub-agency for a long, long time.”

Government Executive quotes Pon from Monday’s conference call is “to make sure OPM is responsive to the federal community, and we’re turning over a new leaf, making sure agencies have more flexibilities, and if I can’t do it at an agency level then I’ll do it at an occupational level,”. “That’s an authority of the director, it doesn’t need any legislation. I can implement a specialty pay with 90 days’ notice and two hearings and it would go into effect.”

Pon said he expected “a full court press in the next six to seven months.”


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