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Our Director Director's Blog

Welcome! We are committed to recruiting and retaining a world-class workforce for the American people.

Let us know when you like our messages by giving the thumbs up and sharing our information. You can connect with Director Archuleta on Twitter: @OPMDirector and Facebook.com/OPMDirector. Also, find us on other social media channels.

Tonight is my major league baseball debut, and I’m excited to share the names of the five Federal employees I’ve asked to join me on Nationals field when I throw out the first pitch.

Each of these individuals was recognized by their peers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for representing the spirit of Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW). I hope you’ll join me in cheering them on when the Washington Nationals play the LA Dodgers this evening.

Mika J. Cross is a Human Capital Policy Strategist at USDA who specializes in work/life balance, diversity, inclusion and employee engagement. She was nominated by her colleague Jamie Edmunds, who tweeted that Mika is “inspiring and forward thinking” and that she “thrives in the face of adversity.”

Shannon Edwards is a Management Assistant in the Retirement Services division of OPM. She is committed to the accurate and timely processing of retirement claims for Federal retirees. She was nominated by Robert Gandy Sr. at USDA, who tweeted that Shannon “epitomizes #FedSpirit with her dedication” and that “she has #Natitude.”

Pamela Marstiller is a Management and Program Analyst at the FBI, where she takes great pride in knowing she’s been a “small, but integral part of National Security” for the past 19 years. Pamela was nominated by her niece, Amy Brodie, who tweeted “@OPMDirector, you need her by your side to throw out the first pitch.”

Justin Herman leads the government-wide SocialGov Community at GSA, uniting more than 450 government social media practitioners from more than 130 federal agencies into an objective-based problem-solver community. He was recognized by his colleague Tim Lowden, who tweeted that Justin is an “innovator, influencer, organizer, and devoted public servant,” and that his “curveball drops off the table.”

Carmen Garcia is the Executive Resources Coordinator and Pathways Program Officer at OPM. She is responsible for recruitment and staffing, classification, executive resources, change management, and advocating an environment of diversity and inclusion. She was recognized by her colleague Justin Johnson, who tweeted that Carmen is great at recruiting and has #FedSpirit.

I’ve really enjoyed seeing all of your recognition posts, tweets, and photos, and I hope you’ll continue thanking Federal employees all week long using #FedSpirit. And please follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook through @OPMDirector to watch my pitch this evening.

Play ball!

Photo of OPM Director Katherine Archuleta walking down a locker room hallway with a Nationals Jersey that reads: Archuleta #1

April 30 is America’s PrepareAthon! National Day of Action. OPM is a national partner in this  nationwide, community-based campaign to increase emergency preparedness and resilience.

As part of our support for the PrepareAthon, OPM will conduct a shelter-in-place exercise, designed to be activated during a tornado or dangerous wind and rain storm. The exercise gets us away from windows and other unsafe areas and may require us to go to the upper or lower parts of the building. It is also a part of our Dismissal and Closure Guide and is an important element of our toolkit for keeping employees safe while they are at work.

OPM will be one of many workplaces – as well as individual homes and communities – that will use tomorrow to practice for worst-case scenarios. These situations can be daunting. Our default often is not to think about such possibilities at all. But America’s PrepareAthon! emphasizes that we need to take the time to prepare now so that emergencies don’t catch us off guard.

There’s a lot to consider when preparing for an emergency. Take a moment to think about it. What’s your preparedness quotient? Do you pay attention to community alerts or warning systems? Do you have a preparedness plan? Have you talked about and practiced that plan with your family? Do you know what hazards are most likely to happen in your area?

Knowing what to do before, during and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count. These are just a few of the things to consider during tomorrow’s Day of Action.

Whether you’re participating in a drill, crafting a plan with your family, or attending a community awareness event, be sure to take a few moments tomorrow to get prepared. If you’re here at OPM Headquarters, take a minute to review Occupant Emergency Plan. And everyone should check out the resources on ready.gov.

As this past winter taught us, when we’re prepared we can stay safe and work together to continue serving the American people, no matter the circumstances.

 

 


I have some exciting news. A week from today I will be on the field at Nationals Park. And you can be too.  

On Tuesday, May 6th, the Washington Nationals will help us celebrate Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW) by hosting “Federal Employee Appreciation Night,” and they’ve invited me to throw out the first pitch. 

And the best part is that I’m bringing five Federal employees on to the field with me. 
This week and next, use hashtag #FEDSpirit on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to publicly recognize a Federal employee who represents the spirit of PSRW. We know there are inspirational, empowering, and exciting stories of Federal employees just waiting to be told. And we’re counting on you to share them.

On Monday, I’ll ask five Federal employees who represent the spirit of Public Service Recognition Week to join me on the field as I make my major league baseball debut. 

Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook through @OPMDirector for updates. I can’t wait to hear the #FEDSpirit stories you have to share.  

 A quick note: The invited Federal employees will be responsible for their transportation to the ballpark and for getting tickets to the game. 


Today General Services Administration Administrator Dan Tangherlini and I signed a Memorandum of Understanding that seals an important partnership that will give agencies a more efficient, more reliable, and more effective way to get the best available training and human capital resources to Federal employees.

Under this agreement, we are merging the breadth of GSA’s acquisition capabilities, tools and strategic sourcing experience with OPM’s expertise in human capital and training to form a more powerful Government solution. Our effort also is aligned with the President’s Management Agenda because it will achieve government-wide savings and efficiencies through Federal strategic sourcing. Through this effort, we will support Federal employees as they continue to provide excellent service to the American people.

This partnership acknowledges the changing Federal landscape. It recognizes OPM’s strategic goals, the current budgetary realities across government and the need to better support the mission of the Federal agencies that OPM serves.

One of my highest priorities as OPM Director is to support agencies in meeting their most challenging human capital needs, including the training and development of our Federal workforce. This partnership will help empower agencies to better accomplish that goal.

Since one of the roles of OPM is to assist the Federal agencies to develop their federal training and career development opportunities, this new partnership is just one way we are going to make that process more efficient, effective, and reliable for agencies. Federal employees must see a clear career path, and we must make sure agencies are providing training and mentoring. We must make sure that from resume to retirement, Federal employees have the processes in place to support their career development.

Through this agreement, OPM will be able to more effectively get the tools they need to fulfill their training and human capital needs. And ensuring that our workforce has what it needs to succeed is one of my highest priorities.



Earlier this month, OPM issued a regulation that I believe will build on the more than 50-year success of the Combined Federal Campaign. It will revitalize the program to make it even better, both for the charities that participate and for our Federal employees.

I understand that change can be difficult, especially when changes are made to a system that has been in place for a long time. But, I believe that the improvements we announced on April 11, 2014 will strengthen and invigorate this vital program for the next half century. The rule was the product of a process that we can be proud of: a bipartisan commission, headed by one Republican and one Democrat.

Federal employees asked for change to the CFC system. They wanted lower overhead costs. They wanted more of their money to go directly to the charities they support.

OPM listened.

Let me give you a hypothetical example of how the CFC operates currently: A DC-area Federal employee donates $1 to a medical research charity. But this $1 first goes to the CFC of the National Capital Area, operated by a nonprofit group selected by local employees to administer the campaign. The National Capital Area CFC takes 9 cents on the dollar to cover its costs to promote the giving campaign and to process contributions. So, the research charity now is receiving 91 cents. Then, because the charity belongs to one of the many federations in the CFC, another deduction -- as much as 25 cents on the dollar -- goes to the federation to cover its administrative costs. (It’s not clear how large a share goes to the federations, which do not always disclose that information.) That leaves the charity with as little as 66 cents of the employee’s original dollar.

Under the rule change, closer to 99 cents will make it to the medical research charity. That’s because the charity will pay only a set fee to OPM’s CFC program to cover the expense of participating in the campaign. These are estimates from our CFC program office, which has spent countless hours analyzing the potential effects of the rule.

Charities receive hundreds of millions of dollars each year by participating in the campaign. The rule change will ensure that Federal employees are able to maximize their contributions and know that the greatest possible share is helping people. It will facilitate transparency and improve accountability. It will make it easier to donate and quicker for charities to acknowledge contributions, and it will offer greater options for giving. Also, both donors and charities will benefit from a central website that will be a robust online presence making it easy to search for and donate to preferred organizations.

The current system limits small local charities both geographically and technologically. They can receive CFC funds only from Federal employees in the area where they are located. With the changes, they will have access to potential donors nationally and from Federal givers around the globe.

OPM recently released CFC results for 2013. What these numbers show is a continued decline in donations, from $258 million in 2012 to $210 million. It is clear that change is needed in order to sustain, modernize and improve the program. I believe that these reforms offer that opportunity.  

Some charities have argued that the new application fees may disproportionately affect smaller charities and make it more difficult for them to participate in the Federal giving campaign. But, 20 percent of charities that are listed currently receive no donations, yet they still incur the administrative costs associated with being listed. I believe that the charities that do value participation in the CFC will be willing to pay the fee in order to have access to our generous Federal workforce. As I have personally told many of the charities expressing concern, I am open to discussing the fee structure.

Another purpose of this reform is to better use technology to lower costs and free campaign workers from paperwork so they can focus on making the CFC campaign thrive and connect Federal employees to charities locally, nationally and internationally. Electronic pledging and donation procedures will do just that.

Most Federal donors pay for their CFC pledges through payroll deductions, not by cash or check. Less than 10 percent of donations were made with cash in 2012. Most cash and check donations came from agency bake sales, book sales and other events held to generate interest in the campaign. Federal agencies put a lot of effort into organizing events, yet the undesignated cash that result from them makes up a very small percentage -- 2 to 3 percent -- of CFC funds raised. Checks will still be accepted and so will debit card payments. They will just be processed electronically.

With pledges made solely online, campaign workers will no longer manually re-enter the information from pledge forms. Time will be saved. Errors will also be reduced with a seamless digital process. Money will be saved by eliminating paper pledge forms, which currently account for more than 9 percent of total CFC costs. Eliminating the cost of processing paper in the CFC supports “green” initiatives and achieves the Administration’s goal of cutting down on waste.

We remain fully committed to working closely with charities and key stakeholders as we implement the final rule. I want to thank the dedicated Federal employees who, year in and year out, contribute to this program worldwide. And I also want to thank the volunteers who each year make the CFC campaign a success. The CFC is the Federal employees’ workplace-giving program, run by and for Feds. This new rule will ensure its success for years to come.


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