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News Release

Monday, February 23, 2004
Contact: Brendan LaCivita
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Conducts First Chief Human Capital Officers' Academy

Hiring, pay, labor flexibilities discussed at inaugural meeting

Washington, D.C. - The Chief Human Capital Officers' (CHCO) Academy, created by Director Kay Coles James as part of the CHCO council, held its first session. The academy was created as a new outreach vehicle for OPM to educate CHCOs about current human capital management issues and available human resources flexibilities, with an emphasis on how they fit within an overall merit-based Civil Service system.

"Our most difficult and demanding challenge is achieving the delicate but essential balance between our core Merit System principles and agency flexibilities," remarked James. "It is a challenge we must meet if we are to maintain our tradition of excellence in the public service."

The first in a series of monthly meetings, the inaugural session focused on title 5, the Civil Service Code, which outlines human resources flexibilities available to federal human resources managers to attract and retain the best and brightest employees. Direct hire authority, which allows for on-the-spot hiring; streamlined category rating in lieu of using the "Rule of Three"; the Federal Career Intern Program; and the Veterans' Recruitment Authority are some of the existing flexibilities available to human resources managers challenged when recruiting new talent. However, the first meeting also emphasized the Bush Administration's commitment to established title 5 principles such as preserving the Merit System, applying veterans' preference, protecting employees and the public from prohibited personnel practices, and maintaining whistleblower protections when using available human resources flexibilities.

"It is OPM's responsibility to ensure agencies honor title 5 while implementing new hiring, pay, and labor flexibilities," stated James. "Creating and sustaining a top-tier federal work force not only includes the use of new human resources flexibilities, but proven and time-honored Merit System principles as well."

Academy sessions are scheduled to take place throughout 2004 on the third Thursday of each month. The next session will be March 18 and will focus on outsourcing human resources services.

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OPM leads and serves the Federal Government in enterprise human resources management by delivering policies and services to achieve a trusted, effective civilian workforce. By Empowering Excellence in Government through Great People, we provide leadership and support to U.S. agencies on issues including human resources policy and oversight, background investigations, federal employee benefits, retirement services, guidance on labor-management relations, and programs to improve workforce performance. For more information, visit or follow OPM on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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