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Open Government Blog

The Office of Management and Budget recently requested a self-evaluation of each Executive Branch agency’s Open Government efforts. Some of the areas evaluated are publishing government information on our website, improving the quality of the information we provide, and ways we encourage participation with citizens. In 2010 we conducted our first self assessment. We are happy to report we have continued to make significant progress on all three tenets of openness: transparency, collaboration, and participation. Our recent activities include:

  • Hiring a dedicated records officer who has been systematically implementing improvements to records management at OPM.
  • Exploring social media for interacting with the public. We have Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube accounts, all accessible from our homepage. We were particularly pleased to receive kudos on a recent earthquake-related Facebook post: "Thanks for keeping us informed! You guys are doing a great job in using social media to keep feds informed."
  • Expanding online training for OPM employees with integrated social media tools, one of which allows users to share comments on books in our online library.
  • Using a crowdsourcing tool to get ideas from employees on how to improve our work and environment here at OPM.

Of course we will continue to work with our employees, our customers and other federal agencies on ways we can improve. In the next few weeks we’ll ask for your feedback on plain writing in our documents and then report back to you on our progress. We remain committed to working with and for you. Please feel free to leave your comments on how to make OPM more open here on our blog.


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Comments

Andrea Schneider
8/26/2011 at 5:50 PM
It's exciting to see progress on Open Government. While there is clear progress in technology, data, accountability and transparency, the harder challenges of organizational change need attention. The US is lagging behind other countries on broader public sector innovation. Check out UK, Denmark and Australia. Here are a few ideas: 1. Innovation in the Public Sector (non-tech), including re-design of public agencies needs to decrease silo behavior and increase collaboration in sharing talent and funding. 2. Seriously saving money would include a re-design of our federal grant making system, from the grant making side and the grantee side of the equation. We are missing the mark, duplicating funding initiatives, and spending the dollar more than once. 3. Each agency should look for collaborative projects with an emphasis on integration of resources, including talent and money. 4. Saving money is more than better websites. It's unclear what is meant by public participation, who the audience or constituency is for each initiative and how we would measure success. This need more definition. 5. American's are inventive. How can we capture the best innovative ideas and turn them into projects? Not just with apps and hackathons. There are private sites doing that with product design, why can't we do the same in the public sector? President Obama called for American innovation, yet there is no where for American's to send ideas. Perhaps each agency can have a innovation lab where good ideas can be evaluated and turned into something and open up the process. There is a lot of untapped energy which can be used in a positive direction. I am a former Justice Department Fellow. I evaluated the innovative community policing grants under the Clinton Administration.
Andrea Schneider
8/26/2011 at 5:50 PM
It's exciting to see progress on Open Government. While there is clear progress in technology, data, accountability and transparency, the harder challenges of organizational change need attention. The US is lagging behind other countries on broader public sector innovation. Check out UK, Denmark and Australia. Here are a few ideas: 1. Innovation in the Public Sector (non-tech), including re-design of public agencies needs to decrease silo behavior and increase collaboration in sharing talent and funding. 2. Seriously saving money would include a re-design of our federal grant making system, from the grant making side and the grantee side of the equation. We are missing the mark, duplicating funding initiatives, and spending the dollar more than once. 3. Each agency should look for collaborative projects with an emphasis on integration of resources, including talent and money. 4. Saving money is more than better websites. It's unclear what is meant by public participation, who the audience or constituency is for each initiative and how we would measure success. This need more definition. 5. American's are inventive. How can we capture the best innovative ideas and turn them into projects? Not just with apps and hackathons. There are private sites doing that with product design, why can't we do the same in the public sector? President Obama called for American innovation, yet there is no where for American's to send ideas. Perhaps each agency can have a innovation lab where good ideas can be evaluated and turned into something and open up the process. There is a lot of untapped energy which can be used in a positive direction. I am a former Justice Department Fellow. I evaluated the innovative community policing grants under the Clinton Administration.
Andrea Schneider
8/26/2011 at 5:51 PM
It's exciting to see progress on Open Government. While there is clear progress in technology, data, accountability and transparency, the harder challenges of organizational change need attention. The US is lagging behind other countries on broader public sector innovation. Check out UK, Denmark and Australia. Here are a few ideas: 1. Innovation in the Public Sector (non-tech), including re-design of public agencies needs to decrease silo behavior and increase collaboration in sharing talent and funding. 2. Seriously saving money would include a re-design of our federal grant making system, from the grant making side and the grantee side of the equation. We are missing the mark, duplicating funding initiatives, and spending the dollar more than once. 3. Each agency should look for collaborative projects with an emphasis on integration of resources, including talent and money. 4. Saving money is more than better websites. It's unclear what is meant by public participation, who the audience or constituency is for each initiative and how we would measure success. This need more definition. 5. American's are inventive. How can we capture the best innovative ideas and turn them into projects? Not just with apps and hackathons. There are private sites doing that with product design, why can't we do the same in the public sector? President Obama called for American innovation, yet there is no where for American's to send ideas. Perhaps each agency can have a innovation lab where good ideas can be evaluated and turned into something and open up the process. There is a lot of untapped energy which can be used in a positive direction. I am a former Justice Department Fellow. I evaluated the innovative community policing grants under the Clinton Administration.
john
8/28/2011 at 11:34 AM
I uPped my productivity and saw my bonus droo, so I no. Longer have internet on my laptop to save money. My cell does not allow me to read the large pdf so I cannot access any summary of open government. Surely somebody could post a one page summary of the open govt planM My agency ran a program asking for ideas which ended while I was on vacation so I did not get my idea in, but I can tell you that after the previous travesty-choosing some minor detail about printing federal register documents and ignoring hundreds of innovative ideas- my idea for putting people back to work would likely have been ignored. The reward for winning? About as good as Honeywell used to give for an idea saving 67 digits- a home fire preventing system worth $20. You want good ideas? Leave the window open and have smart people analyzing the ideas and give real monetary rewards. Sll apparently new ideas.
Nicholas Blunt
9/11/2011 at 3:22 AM
While not all Selective Placement Coordinators are like this; plenty of them are. I found that very few personnel put in the position of Selective Placement Coordinator actually try to help you obtain employment within their agency. Most replies are to go to the USAJOBS.GOV website and apply. If this is the only reply and help I can receive why have that position in the first place? I just wish the Government would hold those personnel accountable for doing their duties in helping Veterans like me not only just get a job but get one that not paying the bare minimum. Not all disabled vets are entry level people. We have years of experience and served our country proudly. But yet they would rather fill the slot for a person who would not dare join any form of military service but would not mind collecting the federal benefits because he was able to go straight to college after high school. The reality is that not everyone can go straight to college after high school because they like me grew up poor with very little financial help. But that does not mean that their college experience surpasses my field and job experience. Thank you for your time.
Nicholas Blunt
9/11/2011 at 3:23 AM
While not all Selective Placement Coordinators are like this; plenty of them are. I found that very few personnel put in the position of Selective Placement Coordinator actually try to help you obtain employment within their agency. Most replies are to go to the USAJOBS.GOV website and apply. If this is the only reply and help I can receive why have that position in the first place? I just wish the Government would hold those personnel accountable for doing their duties in helping Veterans like me not only just get a job but get one that not paying the bare minimum. Not all disabled vets are entry level people. We have years of experience and served our country proudly. But yet they would rather fill the slot for a person who would not dare join any form of military service but would not mind collecting the federal benefits because he was able to go straight to college after high school. The reality is that not everyone can go straight to college after high school because they like me grew up poor with very little financial help. But that does not mean that their college experience surpasses my field and job experience. Thank you for your time.
Bruce Chappell
10/19/2011 at 4:50 PM
Bluntly the system is broken. There is no acceptable reason in the digital age for an "open season" on entitlement registration. Please grow into the full digital world and stop withholding healthcare befefit enrollment as you currently do for most of the year only "for forms sake" when the form is no longer valid.
Mik Watson
10/24/2011 at 3:20 PM
Where do I start? I'm a retired US NAVY Civilian from Wash State. I don't have much need to log-in to my retirement page, but When I do I find the page locked, near every time. Why? because I haven't needed to log-in within a 15-month span. I don't need to log in, so I can't? Where's the logic in that? OK, I can call to get re-upped...except that the phone line is busy! Prolly with the guys who can't log-in because they didn't need to. Who's brain fart is this? I can't log-in and I can't get thru the phone...and these guys are getting paid for WHAT!??! ...Laughing at all the colored lites?!?! This system sucks, and they know it. I shouldn't have my log-in cancelled for lack of use. I SAVING THEM TIME AND MONEY, why are they spending mine? GET your bureaucratic butt on the phone! I'm tired of listening to the beeps! With malice aforethought, Mik Watson
Jonathan
10/25/2011 at 8:24 AM
A data entry clerk is a member of staff who reads hand-written or printed records and types them into a computer. They are sometimes employed on a temporary basis, but most large companies which have large amounts of data will hire on a near permanent basis.
Cynthia Ramsa
1/13/2012 at 12:08 PM
I retired Aug 2009 and let me tell you all dealling with OPM is pur HELL. Yes you get a contact phone number but ir's always busy. All I want is to get my 1099R off my OPM web site so I can get my 1040 sent in. Yes its earlly but I have money comeing to me and don't you know in this electronic age you can't just dowload, Oh but I have done it in the pass. OPM is sorry to deal with and you would be better off toi put the gun to your head and pull the trigger just so you won't have to deal with them.
gary
2/8/2012 at 11:20 AM
I would like for OPM to REALLY want to fix the retirement system, but as usual, it's jsut lip service. If your going to fix the problems, you need fresh eyes to look at the problems, not the same old employees/contractors working on the issues. You just awarded a new contract to fix the retirement system and it appears while you may have hired a new Company, they are just going to hire the same/existing employees from the former contract vs bringing on new talent. DO you really want to fix the problem???
gary
2/8/2012 at 11:21 AM
I would like for OPM to REALLY want to fix the retirement system, but as usual, it's jsut lip service. If your going to fix the problems, you need fresh eyes to look at the problems, not the same old employees/contractors working on the issues. You just awarded a new contract to fix the retirement system and it appears while you may have hired a new Company, they are just going to hire the same/existing employees from the former contract vs bringing on new talent. DO you really want to fix the problem???
Mary Fusco
2/27/2012 at 4:07 PM
I would really like for OPM to get their act together. I have been waiting for 1 year for my court ordered benefits with no luck, No calls, no faxes, just plain no communication. With our technology today and all of its ways of communication, OPM doesn't know how to use them. You call and are asked to leave a message which states they will return the call in the order that it is recieved. I have left at least 50 message since September 2011 and not one return phone call. Not even an email. This is very sad that no one cares enough to fix the problem. People deserve common courtesy and just want anwsers to their questions. How hard is it to pick up the phone and take care of the person on the other end.
Mary Fusco
2/27/2012 at 4:08 PM
I would really like for OPM to get their act together. I have been waiting for 1 year for my court ordered benefits with no luck, No calls, no faxes, just plain no communication. With our technology today and all of its ways of communication, OPM doesn't know how to use them. You call and are asked to leave a message which states they will return the call in the order that it is recieved. I have left at least 50 message since September 2011 and not one return phone call. Not even an email. This is very sad that no one cares enough to fix the problem. People deserve common courtesy and just want anwsers to their questions. How hard is it to pick up the phone and take care of the person on the other end.
james yehl
3/1/2012 at 1:50 PM
Your e-qip system is poorly designed and exteemely frustrating to use. You can follow instructions to a t and still get rejected and asked for more info. You ask for items but give no details on how or where exactly to put the info again resulting in rejections. Everyone i know that has had to endure this mess has had at least 3 or 4 rejections before it is accepted. Worst of all my service comp date is 1979 so you already have the majority of this info. I have to do this on my time at home because of the volume of info involved,with no compensation, and i don't appreciate my valuable time off being wasted because your computer program is so messed up.
Gary Burgner
4/6/2012 at 3:51 PM
I'm trying to change my Federal tax withholdings. Very simple. But when I follow your site's instructions to do that, I am told I will be taken out of the OPM site to another one, and would have to sign in again if I wanted to return. But there is no other option! So I approve the move, and find myself on a page that offers to find me the answer to any questions I might have about my withholding amount. Well, no, I have no desire to read all the questions and answers. I want only to actually CHANGE the amount of withholdings. But seeing no route to the place to actually change the withholdings, I pick the question about how to do that. (Maybe I'll find a clue to how your minds work.) I am then told that I have to re-enter the main OPM site to do that. But I have no expectation that the directions on that site will be any clearer than they were five minutes ago. So I try to call the contact number instead. Busy. What does that mean? You are closed today? Try later? Pardon me for being so brash, but it appears your site was written by idiots!! I'm glad that they aren't writing the software that flies our combat aircraft and targets and fires our ballistic missiles! On another, related issue: I do NOT accept your excuse that withholdings amounts are adjusted by OPM at the command of Congress acting thru the IRS. When I specify the amount to be withheld, you are obligated to execute my instructions. I am responsible for paying any penalties for being underwithheld. I suggest you are just taking the path of least work and allowing a computer to just replace annuitants' withholdings without proper regard to their wishes. I have, after all, been able to adjust my withholdings back to the values I determine are appropriate, AFTER your "corrections" have been applied. It's high time you and the IRS and Congress quit treating your clients like children. And now, I see that to post this comment I have to waste more time wading through the fine print of a User Agreement. Well, I'm going to cleex the box indicating thay I am intimidated as intended into withdrawing my comments. But I hereby rescind in advance my indication of agreement.
Gary Burgner
4/6/2012 at 3:52 PM
I'm trying to change my Federal tax withholdings. Very simple. But when I follow your site's instructions to do that, I am told I will be taken out of the OPM site to another one, and would have to sign in again if I wanted to return. But there is no other option! So I approve the move, and find myself on a page that offers to find me the answer to any questions I might have about my withholding amount. Well, no, I have no desire to read all the questions and answers. I want only to actually CHANGE the amount of withholdings. But seeing no route to the place to actually change the withholdings, I pick the question about how to do that. (Maybe I'll find a clue to how your minds work.) I am then told that I have to re-enter the main OPM site to do that. But I have no expectation that the directions on that site will be any clearer than they were five minutes ago. So I try to call the contact number instead. Busy. What does that mean? You are closed today? Try later? Pardon me for being so brash, but it appears your site was written by idiots!! I'm glad that they aren't writing the software that flies our combat aircraft and targets and fires our ballistic missiles! On another, related issue: I do NOT accept your excuse that withholdings amounts are adjusted by OPM at the command of Congress acting thru the IRS. When I specify the amount to be withheld, you are obligated to execute my instructions. I am responsible for paying any penalties for being underwithheld. I suggest you are just taking the path of least work and allowing a computer to just replace annuitants' withholdings without proper regard to their wishes. I have, after all, been able to adjust my withholdings back to the values I determine are appropriate, AFTER your "corrections" have been applied. It's high time you and the IRS and Congress quit treating your clients like children. And now, I see that to post this comment I have to waste more time wading through the fine print of a User Agreement. Well, I'm going to cleex the box indicating thay I am intimidated as intended into withdrawing my comments. But I hereby rescind in advance my indication of agreement.
Jeffrey Diedrich
4/11/2012 at 11:37 AM
I have been unable to use the CSA number or password given to me by OPM, nor can you get through to them any other way. We were erroneously paid a months salary that was directly deposited in the bank, and since we are in such dire need of money it all went to pay over-drafts and we weren't even aware at first. But of course we are having to pay this back!!!! True we are bein allowed to pay at $25.00 month,but we have no problem getting through to them - So WHY CAN'T SOMEONE GET BACK TO US AND GIVE US OUR BACK PAY SO WE CAN KEEP OUR HOUSE. ALSO, WHY WAS OUR HEALTH BENEFITS STOPPED WITHOUT WARNING - I AM A DISABLED VET WHO NEEDS TO SEE MD REGULARLY AND SURE, I CAN GO TO VA, BUT WE DID NOT RECEIVE NOTICE OF HEALTH INSURANCE CANCELLATION AND NO MONEY FOR MINE OR MY WIFE'S MEDICATIONS. We need the back pay owed us, just as many others do, so please contact me. TSGT Jeffrey Scott Diedrich 830-741-0905 jdiedrich240@clear.net
Jeffrey Diedrich
4/11/2012 at 11:40 AM
I have been unable to use the CSA number or password given to me by OPM, nor can you get through to them any other way. We were erroneously paid a months salary that was directly deposited in the bank, and since we are in such dire need of money it all went to pay over-drafts and we weren't even aware at first. But of course we are having to pay this back!!!! True we are bein allowed to pay at $25.00 month,but we have no problem getting through to them - So WHY CAN'T SOMEONE GET BACK TO US AND GIVE US OUR BACK PAY SO WE CAN KEEP OUR HOUSE. ALSO, WHY WAS OUR HEALTH BENEFITS STOPPED WITHOUT WARNING - I AM A DISABLED VET WHO NEEDS TO SEE MD REGULARLY AND SURE, I CAN GO TO VA, BUT WE DID NOT RECEIVE NOTICE OF HEALTH INSURANCE CANCELLATION AND NO MONEY FOR MINE OR MY WIFE'S MEDICATIONS. We need the back pay owed us, just as many others do, so please contact me. TSGT Jeffrey Scott Diedrich 830-741-0905 jdiedrich240@clear.net See, the words we need to type are impossible to make out!
amhash
7/2/2012 at 10:26 AM
I was roaming around in search of same particular service. And yeah I am finally landed on a right spot. The dealing is out of the box and coordination is outstanding. I must share this so other companies should also be benefited through this. Lot of Applaud for you guys.
Karla Porter
9/20/2012 at 1:00 PM
Bethany - can I ask what series your Records Officer was hired under? We are beginning the recruitment for one in VHA (ours is moving to another agency) and want to make sure we have the correct classification. Thanks.
Karla Porter
9/20/2012 at 1:04 PM
Bethany - can I ask what series your Records Officer was hired under? We are beginning the recruitment for one in VHA (ours is moving to another agency) and want to make sure we have the correct classification. Thanks.
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danielb
11/15/2012 at 5:21 AM
So there are many comments from fed employees but nothing that I can see from OPM. Does anyone at OPM monitor this site? Are we talking to the wall?
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