Federal Manager's Daily Report

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee plans to hold a hearing next week on the status of the “agency reform plans” ordered by an April OMB memo, ahead of the June 30 deadline for agencies to submit the first versions of those plans to OMB.

The hearing is to focus on Commerce, Justice, Agriculture and DHS, although all agencies are under the same directive to make themselves more efficient, including through restructuring if necessary, with an eye to reducing their workforces both in the short run and the long run.

For the short run, several agencies have continued partial hiring freezes even though the general government-wide freeze was lifted in April. The EPA has said it expects to offer buyout and early retirement incentives to some employees, potentially in July; other agencies are expected to follow, although likely not that soon.

The “long-term workforce reduction plan” mandated by the memo is to include for example restructuring to consolidate jobs or shift them to lower-level employees and reducing management layers. It further suggested consolidating functions such as HR, financial management and policy creation, and “outsourcing to the private sector when the total cost would be lower”–as well as bringing work in-house where a contract can be eliminated or scaled back.

Final versions of the reform plans are to be submitted to OMB in the fall for the fiscal 2019 budget cycle. While some such steps could be taken administratively, others would require legislation.