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Press Release

Friday, May 25, 2018
Contact: U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Tel: 2026062402

OPM Director Implementing President’s New Policies to Elevate Federal Government Operations and Protect American Taxpayers

WASHINGTON, DC - Dr. Jeff T.H. Pon, Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), today applauded President Trump for signing three Executive Orders (EOs) to make the government more efficient and effective in serving the American taxpayer.  The EOs streamline processes for removing poor performers, ensure greater accountability in the use of taxpayer-funded union time, and develop common sense approaches to collective bargaining.

  • Promoting Accountability and Streamlining Outdated Dismissal Procedures:
    • By answering repeated calls from the American public and dedicated civil servants across the country, this EO will allow more direct accountability for chronically poor performing employees.  Federal Employment Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) results have consistently shown federal employees believe poor performers are not held accountable.  Streamlining dismissal procedures will create greater accountability as the government serves the American taxpayer.
      • For example, a Post Office employee was arrested, and subsequently convicted, for using illegal drugs during her lunch break. The Post Office fired her for both the felony conviction and for bringing cocaine onto Federal property. The employee appealed and the Merit Systems Protection Board ordered her reinstated with only a 90-day suspension.
  • Ensuring Transparency, Accountability, and Efficiency in the Use of Taxpayer-Funded, On-the-Job, Union Time:
    • Agencies spent roughly $177 million paying federal employees in FY 2016 for taxpayer-funded union time, continuing a trend of increased expenses.  This EO is a step toward better results by making sure taxpayers are paying employees to provide services to the country and not to sue or lobby the government.
      • In an egregious example, at a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facility, an emergency room (ER) physician became a union official who was entitled, through local and national contracts, to spend 70 percent of his time on union activities.  Over the objections of local management, the national union granted him additional taxpayer-funded union time under the national contract.  The ER physician now spends 100 percent of his time on union business, rather than treating veterans in the ER.  The VA facility must contract, at high cost, for additional ER physician coverage.

  • Developing Efficient, Effective, and Economical Approaches to Collective Bargaining:
    • By directing federal agencies and departments to focus on the important issues, and setting common sense goals for the process for negotiating collective bargaining agreements (CBAs), this EO allows both sides to center discussions on the real issues that impact both federal employees and how they do their jobs for the American taxpayer.  Additionally, this EO creates public transparency and accountability so the American people can see what agencies have agreed to and ensures negotiations paid for with their tax dollars are focused on producing effective results.
      • Cost to taxpayers: Agencies pay for union negotiators’ salaries, so it hurts taxpayers when bargaining drags on for years.  Salaries for union negotiators cost $16 million in 2016 alone.

“These Executive Orders are about protecting taxpayers’ dollars, including those of our dedicated federal employees, and putting those resources to use in the most efficient and effective way possible,” stated Director Pon.  “By holding poor performers accountable, reforming the use of taxpayer-funded union time, and focusing negotiations on issues that matter, we are advancing our efforts to elevate the federal workforce.  The vast majority of our employees are dedicated public servants who are dedicated to their missions and service to the American people.  It is essential that we honor their commitment, and these measures reflect just that.  Looking ahead, our focus will be on continuing to leverage technology to digitize our federal human resources infrastructure, build modern public human resources systems for the 21st century, and celebrate the hardworking federal employees who serve our great Nation each and every day.”

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The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is the leader in workforce management for the federal government. Our agency builds, strengthens, and serves a federal workforce of 2.2 million employees with programs like hiring assistance, healthcare and insurance, retirement benefits, and much more. We provide agencies with policies, guidance, and best practices for supporting federal workers, so they can best serve the American people.

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