The House Appropriations Committee released a statement listing their concerns with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The majority of the topics dealt with information technology (IT) or hiring in some aspect, but other items such as locality pay were raised as well.
Hiring in Government: Retention and Acquisition Issues
The four main points about acquiring and keeping talent for federal positions were:
- The length of time it takes for a position to be filled has been scrutinized over the last decade or so. The congressional committee recognized that many delays have been identified in the bureaucratic process of hiring individuals for the government. The legislators gave OPM 90 days to consult with hiring managers about the process’ shortcomings and make recommendations about how to remove the existent obstacles.
- Direct Hiring Authority (DHA), specifically for the BOP (Bureau of Prisons), was decided upon. While the powers that be were reluctant to give this authority to the subagency, citing the safety of inmates, DHA was granted to the BOP under special circumstances. If 10% or more of the federal job positions for the BOP are vacant, DHA is permitted to hire new staff so long as the facilities with the most vacancies are tended to first.
- Guidelines on marijuana use were requested. The House members encouraged OPM to look over, and possibly update, the hiring guidelines for federal employees in states with legalized marijuana. Policy changes around private use in states where such use is permitted should be updated, the committee argued, to include information about those procedures, and what impact marijuana use has in the realm of federal employment.
- The USA Learning Knowledge Portal Services Program, an online service for training and educating feds, has recently garnered attention from the appropriations people on Capitol Hill due to a surge in spending. The House committee asked OPM for a report from the previous five fiscal years about this spending to make sure the program’s contracts have been awarded ethically.
More issues were also brought up by the group of representatives in their official statement. While most of the items were tied to either IT or hiring, a range of matters were discussed, including:
The Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) Program’s low coverage of ‘medical food’ had its legality questioned per definitions in the 1983 Orphan Drug Act.
Pay disparities among hourly workers employed by the federal government in different ‘Federal Wage System’ areas within the same locality spurred the committee to ask OPM into consolidating these areas into one. This would make each locality under its own, single wage system area.
Regarding the reorganization of OPM, which the Trump Administration attempted through a merger with the General Services Administration, the congressional statement noted that the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act prohibits such a transfer until 180 days after a budgetary report on the proposed restructuring is submitted to Congressional Committees.
The last two items, which are about the constituency services backlog and minority-owned investment service companies, will be featured in the concluding article about the appropriations committee’s stance on OPM subjects.
Until Next Time,
**Written by Benjamin Derge, Financial Planner. The information has been obtained from sources considered reliable but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Benjamin Derge and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Links are being provided for information purposes only. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize, or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors.
hiring in government