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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Contact: Peter Graves
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Director Testifies Before House Federal Workforce Subcommittee on Budget/Agency Priorities for 2007

Says Budget Request Compliments Recently Released Strategic and Operational Plan

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Linda M. Springer today discussed OPM's 2007 proposed $256 million discretionary budget and its link to OPM's new Strategic and Operational Plan in testimony before members of the House Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce and Agency Organization, part of the House Government Reform Committee.

"OPM provides a variety of products and services to nearly 1.8 million Federal government employees," Springer told the Committee. "As OPM Director, I am committed to successfully delivering on our responsibilities in a timely manner. The Federal civilian workforce expects us to get things done."

Springer told the Committee OPM's new Strategic and Operational Plan will be the blueprint that governs allocation of discretionary funds. The plan, unveiled on March 7, outlines a series of clear and concise agency goals and priorities designed to maintain an effective civilian workforce in the Federal government. According to Springer, the plan contains set delivery and implementation schedules for OPM goals.

"In order for an organization to fulfill its mission, it needs to understand the mission, with supporting strategic objectives and operational goals, accompanied by strong oversight and accountability in order to reach optimal performance," Springer said. "This plan does this in a straightforward manner."

Springer said OPM's budget priorities are inexorably linked with its Strategic and Operational Plan.

"Operational planning and budgeting go hand in hand," Springer said. "Our budget priorities can be linked to the program priorities in our new plan."

Springer told the Committee one of the main priorities for OPM this year is to improve the Federal retirement claims process, which serves more than two million Federal workforce retirees.

"This year, OPM is asking Congress to appropriate $27 million to help us improve retirement administration using a new Information Technology system to process claims," Springer said.

Springer said the new technology is necessary to replace the current, paper-based retirement administration process with a system capable of handling the increasing volume of claims being filed by Federal employees.

"We have set goals of making final 90 percent of initial retirement benefits in 30 days by October 1, and mailing notices in 10 working days for 80 percent of subsequent change requests by the same date," Springer said. "However, to sustain this level of performance in an environment of increasing rates of retirement, it will be necessary to revamp our retirement claims process."

Springer told the Committee OPM wants to award a retirement systems modernization contract by May 1 and an Information Technology service contract by June 1.

The OPM Strategic and Operational Plan also outlines goals for enhancing workforce recruitment strategies, improving training and performance management, and expanding electronic government initiatives.

OPM's total budget request for 2007 is $36.6 billion, $36.3 billion of which satisfies mandatory payments such as the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund, Federal Employees Health Benefits, and the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance program.

Springer did warn OPM's Strategic and Operational Plan would only be as effective as the financial support the agency ultimately receives.

"This plan was developed concurrently with our 2007 budget request, meaning that accomplishing these goals is realistic as long as the funding request is sustained."

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Our mission is to Recruit, Retain and Honor a World-Class Workforce to Serve the American People. OPM supports U.S. agencies with personnel services and policy leadership including staffing tools, guidance on labor-management relations and programs to improve work force performance.


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