ALL EMPLOYEE STAFF MEETING
copies of the meeting video tape will be sent to offices very quickly,
so you may have your own opportunity to see the big program. In the meantime, I thought I would share some information
from the Chair and the Chief Operating Officer, as well a few other
the format was the same as last year.
The Chair spoke, Commissioners Miller and Silverman spoke, Lee
Guarraia spoke, I spoke and the Headquarters Office Directors spoke.
Again, there were guest speakers.
year, after each HQ Office director spoke, particular office staff were
recognized for their efforts and “Pete the Eagle” eaglettes were
given out as recognition. A
special tribute was paid to former Chair William Brown.
include the following:
Chair stressed that it was important to have the all employee meeting,
and that having the meeting at the Mayflower hotel was cost effective,
given the need. Finally the
Chair stressed that she hoped the meeting would allow her to address
some of the pending issues.
Chair and Lee continue to insist that they
are optimistic about not having to face furloughs. The two of them and OCLA staff have made several visits to
Capital Hill seeking funding from various Committee Leaders and
NAPA study was discussed based on the four primary areas where
recommendations were made:
Centers to improve customer service and to allow employees to focus
on their work of serving our public
the field, as well as using technology and mobility to help avoid
the rising costs of real estate
HQ to clarify the lack of coordination and avoid redundancies, and
HR and using technology to improve our support systems.
brief summary of upcoming NAPA initiatives includes:
on the NAPA report are being collected.
At the end of the thirty day comment period, a team of field and
HQ managers will make recommendations to the Chair about what should be
implemented. It was noted
that any changes will be part of a multi-year plan.
Finally, the message was sent – change is inevitable as it is
driven by Congress and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Telecommuting Report from the Office of the IG was discussed.
The Chair reiterated that any program must be voluntary and the
employee situation must be appropriate for telecommuting.
Chair stressed that telecommuting cannot be mandated. The chair emphasized that the 35% reduction in space will
occur largely due to office restructuring, that it is not an across the
board requirement in each office as any reductions must make sense and
must create a conducive work environment for front line staff.
Chair expressed that she is exploring options for streamlining the
federal sector hearings process while fully protecting employees in the
followed, echoing the sentiments of the Chair and providing additional
background material. For
example, the Calls Centers are necessary due to the uneven response
provided by offices. Directors
were asked to provide information on how calls were handled.
The current survey results from the need to obtain specific
information about the nature, frequency and duration of the calls.
In the end, improved customer service is the goal.
advised on the new evaluation tool for agencies called PART – Program
Assessment Rating Tool. As
part of the President’s Management Agenda, the agency budget will
depend on the GPRA Goals, the Strategic Plan and the PART results we
produce, not in terms of numbers of cases processed, but how we have
better served our public, improved our work processes and what value has
been added to our processes.
Future funding will depend on our marks on PART.
The FAIR Inventory and Competitive Sourcing
Issues were addressed by Lee and Jeff Smith.
Both reiterated that just because the positions are on the list
mean that the work will be outsourced, or that any employees will lose
recognized that we still are in a hiring freeze but said that the SES
candidate program will be expanded so that managers can get experience
at other agencies as part of training.
Training for all employees is important to the Chair, and money
for improvement will be put into the budget.
Lee and Angie Ibarguen form OHR stressed the need for employees
in offices on the pilot program to use the edc.eeoc.gov website and to
take courses. Managers were
reminded to allow employees duty time to participate in the pilot.
For those employees in an office not in the pilot program,
comparable training selections are available on golearn.gov
Brown from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) reviewed the IG
report on Telecommuting and reminded the audience that mandatory
telecommuting is not recommended, as barriers remain.
Barriers include resistance from employees and managers,
technology shortcomings and data security as well as funding for
additional equipment. Pilots
for the selected offices will provide valuable information on how to
make such a program work. The
report has been well received by OPM, NAPA and the OMB as a way to
increase training opportunities, to recruit and retain staff and as an
alternative to RIFs.
The OIG will conduct assessments of HQ space and
how to make it more cost effective – renting space, moving WFO into
the space, etc. The OIG
will pilot frequent telework to have some data on how the program would
work, to condense
office space and to test office sharing.
comments were heard from Office Directors which supported the remarks
made by the Chair and Lee. Most
notably for federal sector, there was a recognition that ADR was useful,
that hearings must remain and some kind of triage management of cases
would be particularly helpful. There
will be no change to statutes, but regulatory
will be proposed later this year and must go through the comment
initiatives include automating the records systems, including time and
text of my comments is attached.
items of interest in the news:
Service Reform In the Spotlight
Davis (R-Va.), Chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, plans
to introduce legislation designed to reform the civil service.
One of the first bills out the door, according to Davis' spokesman,
David Marin, will likely be legislation that would grant the
administration expedited authority to recommend changes to the structure
of government agencies and departments, also called fast track
Other legislation will be forthcoming, Marin said,
however it's too early to say what reform proposals Davis will move
forward with and what the legislative package will look like. Davis has
not decided for example, if it makes sense to introduce
one all-encompassing bill or individual bills that address specific
"We need to have discussions with stakeholders. We need to see how
things are unfolding at" the Homeland Security Department, Marin
committee hearing March 6 to discuss workforce reform recommendations
laid out in a January report, Davis said he "wants to make
sure" there are supporters in both parties for civil service reform
before moving ahead with legislation. The subject of the hearing was the
report from the National Commission on the Public Service, which among
its 14 recommendations suggested dividing the Senior Executive Service
into a corps of executive managers and a corps of professional technical
experts. In his testimony, Davis said he is "very interested in
pursuing all of these recommendations."
Responding to a question from Rep. Christopher Shays
(R-Conn.), Paul Volcker, chairman of the commission, said the most
important recommendation would be "getting some legislation to
facilitate the reorganization" of the government on a fast-track
basis. Volcker envisions the executive branch developing proposals in
cooperation with Congress and other nongovernmental interests.
"Once a proposal is sent to Congress, we recommend that it be given
an up or down vote within a limited period of time."
Other important interim steps toward a complete overhaul that the
government should include are improving the presidential appointments
process and increasing judicial, executive and legislative salaries,
Volcker said in testimony.
Jo Ann Davis (R-Va.), Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Civil Service,
Census and Agency Organization, said she views the commission report as
a "guidepost for Congress as we begin our journey of reforming the
federal government." The
timing is right, said Donna Shalala, a commission member. "The
recommendations we made have everything to do with who we can
attract" to government service, she said. "Our ability to
recruit and retain a new generation of Americans to government has
everything to do with these kinds of reform."
While much of the recent report from the National
Commission on the Public Service—more commonly called the Volcker
Commission—focused on familiar themes of reorganizing agencies,
improving management flexibilities and emphasizing pay for performance,
one recommendation—abolishing the general schedule—would take pay
reform a step farther than previous similar reports on the civil
service. Said the report, “a system like the general schedule that
emphasizes internal equity in compensation will always demand constant
tinkering to define ‘equal work’ so that it can ensure ‘equal
pay.’” The report noted that nearly 20 percent of non-postal federal
employees now work under other personnel systems, “many of which were
enacted by Congress in response to the needs of high-impact agencies.”
It recommended a default system in which the 15 pay grades would be
consolidated into six to eight bands, with managers given authority to determine
individual pay “based on competence and performance.” Certain
agencies might want to design different systems, it said, “but that
cannot happen until we have seen the
of the general schedule.”
of Personnel Management officials in recent years have grown
increasingly vocal in their criticisms of the GS system, which they say
was crafted to reflect the needs of the government in very different
times. Last year, OPM issued a “white paper” saying the pay system
does not reflect market pay levels or encourage and reward achievement
and results and precludes agencies from tailoring pay programs to their
specific missions and labor markets. That paper, designed to be a
starting point for broader discussions on pay reform, was put on the
back burner late last year when the attention of civil service leaders
focused mostly on issues involving creating the Department of Homeland
Security. But the Volcker Commission report could bring that debate to
the forefront again, possibly in the context of Senate hearings on
proposals to push civil service reform beyond what was enacted last year
as part of the DHS measure.
and Economy Woes
problem here is that too few people can make the distinction between
civilian and service personnel when the term “federal employees” is
administration is seeking from Congress authority to require that
agencies “evaluate the creditworthiness” of employees before issuing
them a government purchase charge card or government travel charge card,
the latest development in a series of
designed to crack down on misuse of the cards. Under the plan, no card
would be issued to anyone who either “lacks a credit history or is
found to have an unsatisfactory credit history.” The exception would
be that agencies could still issue to them restricted-use charge, debit
or stored-value cards. The request also seeks to require agencies to
establish guidelines for disciplinary actions to be taken against
fraudulent or abusive use of charge cards and specifies removal or
modification of security clearances as potential penalties. The General
Accounting Office has issued a string of reports describing misuse of
government charge cards, although many of the cited instances involved
uniformed military personnel, not federal workers.
furlough issue addressed?
House has asked Congress to enact authority for the government to
continue operating if regular appropriations bills haven’t been passed
by the start of a new fiscal year, saying the deadline hasn’t been met
in 21 of the last 22 years. In most of those cases, special stopgap
measures were enacted, but in several cases agencies were required to
suspend operations and send employees home unpaid because the agency
lacked funds. In each case employees later were paid as if they had
worked, but the shutdowns were widely decried as needlessly disruptive.
Under the proposal, if no funding measure is in place, funding would be
automatically provided at the lower of the President’s budget or the
prior year’s level.
is fighting on behalf of federal employees?
Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., vowed
in a speech before members of the National Treasury Employees Union to
fight the Bush administration on behalf of federal workers. “Repeatedly, the Bush administration has failed to treat
federal employees with respect and dignity and that has got to stop,”
Lieberman, a contender for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination,
told several hundred NTEU members. “I’m going to be watching¼this
administration closely, and speaking out wherever and whenever its
anti-union bias rears its ugly head.” The
senator said he wouldn’t hesitate to filibuster, or delay a vote
indefinitely by speaking continuously on the Senate floor, to stop the
administration [from stepping on employee rights] and protecting federal
workers. “I know if the rules are fair and the playing ground is
level, and that public servants will perform at the highest level,”