Groups Join to Push Personnel Policy Reforms

Two good-government groups have joined to push for civil service reforms that would involve changes in recruiting, hiring, paying, rating and rewarding employees.

The Partnership for Public Service and the Volcker Alliance each have made similar recommendations in the past and in their announcement they repeated a long-running argument for updating the GS system, which dates back 70 years, and workplace policies that date back 40. The policies have not “kept pace with changes in our workforce, our country and the world beyond,” they said, and employees are “ill-served by an outmoded personnel system that was designed for a largely clerical workforce instead of one requiring highly specialized skills needed for today’s knowledge-based economy.”

In the area of personnel policies, the Renewing America’s Civil Service initiative calls for: streamlining the hiring process to attract younger workers and mid-career workers seeking to move into government; tie pay more closely to rates for each occupation and local market; extend probationary periods for new employees and give agencies new authority to deal with poor performance.

Regarding agency management, it calls for: more training in supervisory and managerial skills and promotion to those positions only of those who have demonstrated such skills; returning the SES to its original design as a cadre of management experts who can be moved to address problems and splitting off technical experts among them into a separate track; and requiring that political and career executives “treat talent management as essential to successful mission planning and execution.”