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Washington, D.C. -- The U.S. Office of Personnel Management has expressed gratitude to Congress for enacting several laws giving federal agencies' important flexibilities to recruit and retain qualified workers while protecting Veterans' Preference employment rights, but warned the government's outdated human resources system remains an obstacle to permanent change.
"These flexibilities cannot mask the deficiencies of a personnel system that is not well-suited to meet the mission-critical goals of today's federal workforce," said Marta Brito Perez, OPM's Associate Director for Human Capital Leadership and Merit System Accountability.
In recent testimony, Perez outlined for the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce and the District of Columbia OPM's accomplishments in educating HR and program managers across government on flexibilities that can be used to recruit and retain a top-notch work force.
Perez said subcommittee chairman Senator George Voinovich has been "instrumental in providing tools to address human capital challenges facing the federal government today." Workplace flexibilities championed by Voinovich and the subcommittee, Perez noted, include implementing performance-based pay for senior executives.
Voinovich's influence also has been felt in legislation that authorized flexible personnel systems for the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security. More than half of the 1.8 million federal civil service work force will be promoted, paid, trained and disciplined under contemporary workplace rules that will allow those agencies to respond to mission-critical needs.
Perez said OPM has been actively communicating and working with federal agencies, the military and veterans associations on employment strategies and opportunities. With approximately 80 percent of the federal work force stationed outside the Washington, D.C.-area, Perez acknowledged OPM's business acumen in holding 27 symposiums across the country since May 2004. The symposiums are designed to help managers and hiring officials better understand veterans' employment issues and veterans' hiring authorities, the use of contemporary applicant ratings systems, including category rating, and direct hire authority.
Eileen Larence, Director of Strategic Issues with the Government Accountability Office, said OPM has met the challenge of issuing "clear guidance" and making its website more useful for federal managers and job seekers.
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.