Washington DC, Pennsylvania Avenue, fedweek.com

Federal agencies are to submit by September 11 final versions of their “reform plans,” to OMB for inclusion in the administration’s fiscal 2019 budget proposal that will be sent to Congress early in the new year.

Those plans are to provide for “long-term workforce reductions” as part of what an April OMB memo said will be a “comprehensive government-wide reform plan” that will be submitted to Congress early in 2018. Agencies were told to focus on how to eliminate activities; restructure or merge functions; improve organizational efficiency and effectiveness; and better manage their workforces. Officials have said they expect that while some elements would require approval of Congress, some could be accomplished administratively–and thus steps toward them could start at any time once they are finalized.

While that memo formally lifted the general hiring freeze imposed in January, some agencies have continued to restrict their hiring–especially for headquarters and administrative positions–in anticipation of lower future employment levels and upcoming reorganizations.

On a parallel track, OMB told agencies to “maximize employee performance,” to include reviewing whether workplace policies “are barriers to hiring and retaining the workforce necessary to execute their missions as well appropriately managing and, if necessary, removing poor performers”; ensuring that performance expectations “are appropriately rigorous, aligned to the work that needs to be done and the grade of the employee, and effectively communicated”; and requiring that managers and supervisors “are held accountable for managing employee performance and conduct.”

Details of all those plans could start emerging in the upcoming weeks and months.