Federal Manager's Daily Report

Building Number 3 of the U.S. Government Publishing Office, formerly known as the U.S. Government Printing Office, in Washington, DC on November 12, 2015. Image: Mark Van Scyoc/Shutterstock.com

The Government Publishing Office has much more to do in transitioning from its traditional focus on printing—as reflected in its name change from the former Government Printing Office—to online information delivery and workforce issues are central to many of those challenges, an inspector general report has said.

While the GPO is an arm of Congress, its personnel policies generally reflect executive branch policies and the report says it faces many of the same issues including “difficulties attracting, retaining, and training qualified employees” and a slow hiring process. That is reflected in persistently high vacancy rates, including an overall 15 percent rate and rates in components as high as 40 percent, it said.

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“Hiring delays persist and are exacerbated by competing demands for digital expertise from the private sector. With a high volume of expected vacancies and a hiring process that can take up to 6 months, GPO is at risk of not adequately being staffed or having adequately trained staff,” the report said.

Another concern was the lack of a “knowledge management strategy” especially since half of the workforce will be eligible for retirement over the next five years. In addition, 40 percent of the GPO workforce has at least 20 years of service compared with 30 percent government-wide, and the average length of service is 19 years vs. 15.

“Though GPO has enjoyed relatively strong retention of its employees, a tenured workforce such as GPOs also has the potential to hinder modernization efforts. Employees who have remained with the agency for decades may require additional training on modern systems and digital literacy that would help move GPO into the 21st century,” it said.

In addition, the GPO is at risk of current employees being “unable or unwilling to learn the new skills and capabilities needed,” it said.

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