The move to bring the Office of Personnel Management under the purview of the General Services Administration has been controversial. A congressional hearing on the plan is scheduled for Tuesday, and the National Association of Active and Retired Federal Employees will be testifying. Jessica Klement, staff vice president of advocacy at NARFE, says that one of the biggest concerns about the proposal would be changing OPM’s accountability.
“The OPM director in its current capacity does not serve at the pleasure of the president. The OPM director directs an independent agency.” Klement said. “When Congress created OPM in 1978, it purposefully created it as an independent agency, an independent body to maintain a merit-based civil service, free of political influence. Moving OPM’s programmatic functions to GSA, the GSA administrator does serve at the pleasure of the president and this new administrator would still continue, at this office of workforce policy, would ultimately report to the president. That would not allay our concerns.”