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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.

HR University (HRU) reached a milestone today with $100 million in cost-savings government-wide. HRU is a prime example of how we are developing a first-class Federal workforce that is well-prepared, well-trained and has the right skills.

 With tight budgets, HRU is a creative way to offer quality training to our employees that is affordable and that meets our goals.

The Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCO) Council launched HRU in February 2011 as the Government’s one stop shop for Federal HR training. Through HRU, we are collaborating across government to share existing resources and address competency and skill gaps within the HR community.

 

HRU is an online platform that hosts courses that are identified as the best HR training across government. Since HRU offers courses and resources that agencies have already developed, it reduces duplication across government and saves precious resources.

I applaud the CHCO Council for its innovative thinking in creating HRU. It’s another way we are working to share not only resources, but best practices. In his 2015 budget proposal, President Obama calls for just such training collaborations.

Just take a look at HRU and you’ll see that it offers courses on a variety of competencies and needs ranging from performance management, to employee benefits, to emergency preparedness. It’s another way that OPM is fulfilling its mission of providing the training Federal workers need to develop and progress in their career paths.

HRU’s is available to all Federal employees at www.HRU.gov. Spread the word. Help us as we continue to build a world-class workforce for the 21st Century.




Today is it. This is the last day for Americans to enroll in an Affordable Care Act Marketplace. And I want to make a special appeal to the Latino community to keep working until the last minute to get the word out.

In the past month I’ve traveled to Philadelphia, San Antonio, Houston, Miami and Phoenix. I’ve concentrated on the Latino community because we lack health insurance in greater numbers than others. I am determined to get us covered – NOW.

We heard last week that more than 6 million Americans have signed up and that the virtual lines are long in the Marketplaces. That’s great. But we can’t let up.

In order to be assured of health coverage for the coming year enrollees have to have started the sign up process by midnight. Just like on an Election Day, as long as people are in line before midnight they’ll be given time to complete the enrollment process.

The resources are there for Latinos. In addition to healthcare.gov there is cuidadodesalud.gov. The call center – 1-800-318-2596 - has Spanish speaking operators waiting to help.

This is it. Spread the word anyway you can.

Let’s get everyone covered NOW!

 Director Archuleta talking to students in Phoenix about the ACA


It’s officially spring and the weather is slowly edging away from what’s been an unusually harsh winter season. We’ve had one major storm after another and lots of little ones in between. We’ve all made good use of our shovels, ice scrapers, coats, hats and gloves.

At Dulles Airport, one of the major measuring centers, the National Weather Service measured 52.8 inches of snow for this winter, 30 inches more than the seasonal average. This is likely a winter we’ll be telling stories about for many years to come.

Wherever I go, people always ask me about our Dismissal and Closure status. Our social media channels start getting busy with questions and comments days before a storm is ready to hit!

What many people don’t realize is that we prepare all year round for these kinds of events. Whether it’s an unexpectedly heavy winter weather season, an earthquake in August, or a Superstorm in October, we do all we can to make sure we are prepared for anything.  Decisions may be hard and not always popular, but because we prepare, we barely miss a beat.

We consult throughout the year with our partners in this effort – the Council of Governments, the National Weather Service and transportation departments throughout the National Capital Area.

OPM’s guidance covers any natural disaster or event that disrupts commuting in the DC area.  This includes not only snow and ice, but earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes or other special events that may occur during the year.  Whenever these emergencies occur, OPM is committed to promoting the continuity of operations and ensuring the safety of its workforce. 

   

One of the strongest tools we have is telework.  During emergencies, teleworking is often the best option for continuity of operations. That’s why so much of our Dismissal and Closure guide helps agencies and employees understand their options and flexibilities.

We want to make sure that as much as possible, the weather doesn’t keep the Federal workforce from providing excellent service to the American people.

The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 helps us do that. The Act requires agencies to incorporate telework into their continuity of operation plans.  OPM used the Act as an opportunity to highlight telework in our emergency announcements. We have been working with agencies to increase the use of telework, both regularly and during emergencies.

That effort is paying off. Federal employees are teleworking at an all-time high across the country. In the DC area, according to the Employee Viewpoint Survey, 70 percent of employees are telework eligible. Telework is the best option to keep the Federal Government working during the emergencies that prevent normal government operations.

Moreover, new technologies allow Federal employees to work from home, and I know most of you find ways to make up your work at no cost to the Federal government.  As such, there is no good way for us to calculate with any accuracy the cost of closing Federal government building.

Each year, OPM reviews its guidance and discusses lessons learned with its interagency working group and labor unions.  These discussions ensure that OPM’s announcements reflect the current needs of the Federal workforce. Over the past several years, we’ve worked unscheduled leave and telework into nearly all of our status options so that you have the flexibility to make the right decision for you and your family.  

We follow up our consultations and engagement with the interagency and union stakeholders with videos, guidance, and other materials to help inform Federal employees.  Througout the year, we also encourage Federal workers to have preparedness conversations with their supervisors and agency leaders.  And when in doubt, FEMA’s www.ready.gov is the one stop shop for general preparedness tips and information.

Now that we’ve (hopefully) seen our last snow of the season, let’s keep the conversation going.  Talk to your employees, to your supervisor, and to your families about the plans that work for you. Let’s all think about this winter and learn from it.  I know that together we’ll be ready for the next emergency that comes our way.  After all, hurricane season is right around the corner.

Happy Spring!

 

 

 


We learned today that more than 6 million Americans have signed up for health insurance so far in the Affordable Care Act Marketplace.

This important milestone means that more than 6 million Americans can count on affordable, quality health care. It means they don’t have to worry about insurance companies refusing to cover them because they are sick or have a preexisting condition. It means 6 million Americans don’t have to worry about how they will pay a hospital bill if they or someone in their family gets sick.

In the past month I have been to Philadelphia, San Antonio, Miami, Houston and Phoenix to spread the word about the need for all uninsured Americans to sign up for health insurance, particularly Latinos, who have a higher uninsured rate than most Americans and more health risk factors.

At one enrollment site in Phoenix, 300 people had waited on line just on Wednesday to get signed up. And nationwide on Wednesday there were 1.5 million visits to healthcare.gov and the call center received more than 430,000 calls.

6 million is great. But our work is not yet done. We have four days left. We all need to spread the word to our friends, our families, our colleagues, our neighbors. Enroll in the Marketplace.

Tell them to go to healthcare.gov. Tell them to go to cuidadodesalud.gov. Tell them to call the 1-800-318-2596 call center 24 hours a day.

Let’s get everyone covered now!  

http://youtu.be/3Okgs0a-ybM


The Office of Personnel Management is committed to the accurate and timely processing of retirement claims to Federal retirees.  In recent months, we have taken steps to reduce the backlog in processing Federal employee retirement requests, addressed the needs of the Retirement Services (RS) Information Technology system and improved customer service in RS.

Because of the hard work of our employees, OPM has made significant improvements to retirement processing efforts over the past year.  As of the end of fiscal 2013, the claims inventory was 17,719 cases – a 71 percent reduction since the peak of 61,108 cases in January 2012.  As of February 2014, the average time to process a new retirement claim was 61 days. The average processing time was 91 days in July of 2013 and 156 days in December 2011.  While annuitants wait for their final monthly annuity, OPM places new retirees on interim pay which on average constitutes approximately 80% of their final pay within 7 days of notification of their retirement.  Process improvements achieved through the hard work of our RS employees and strategic efforts have allowed for this reduction in inventory.  
 
While parts of the retirement process remains paper-based, OPM has begun a gradual transition to a fully digital process. Since 2005, new employees’ data is all maintained electronically.  The OPM Strategic Plan and OPM Strategic IT Plan outline the fully electronic process using that data.  Once the transition is complete, most retirement data will be electronic, and the vast majority of records will be sent automatically through the system to the points where a human decision-maker is still needed.

We are expanding on the Retirement Case Management System being developed with resources Congress provided in 2014. We are doing that by moving to align our retirement processing systems to a common IT platform with other OPM activities. This will make it easier to accomplish future incremental retirement processing improvements and take advantage of data OPM will gather throughout an employee’s career lifecycle.

The IT improvements included in the President’s fiscal 2015 Budget request are based on the Retirement Services Strategic Plan and similar successful information technology initiatives. In addition, we are working closely with major commercial providers of IT services that support agencies’ retirement application processing to ensure that Retirement Services information technology systems are compatible and consistent with current technology.

While OPM has made progress, I will work closely with leadership and employees to continue to improve the services that our customers deserve and expect.  We are working to prioritize claims processing, customer service, and IT modernization, including the development of a case management system for Retirement Services.

I remain humbled by the hard work and dedication of OPM employees, and want to assure the Federal workforce that I remain focused on providing RS the tools it needs, including to  improve Retirement Services IT.

We will continue to make every effort to provide the excellent and timely service that our world class Federal workforce deserves.


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