The civil service is “is long overdue for modernization,” OPM has said in an “exit memo” recapping the agency’s initiatives under the Obama administration and making recommendations for the incoming Trump administration on federal personnel policies. However, its prescription differs significantly from what the new administration has backed and what has been advocated so far early in the new Congress. Principles that should underlie such an effort, OPM said, include greater focus of agency leadership on hiring, cultivating, training, and engaging the workforce; encouraging employees to move in and out of government over their careers “rather than focusing on ways to keep employees for their entire careers”; rewarding excellent performance; greater emphasis on training and development, particularly with respect to technology; and continuing labor-management cooperation. The memo also repeated a proposal in the last several administration budgets–which never made progress in Congress–for creation of a civil service reform commission to recommend comprehensive reforms in the way the government “recruits, hires, compensates, trains, manages, and holds accountable its workforce.” Beyond that passing reference to accountability, the memo says nothing about employee misconduct, poor performance or disciplinary and appeals practices, issues of primary focus for the Republican-led Congress and the Trump team.
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