An all-star panel of former agency officials and federal workforce experts discuss how OMB’s restructuring plan could be implemented and its impact on government employees.
As the Office of Management and Budget looks to push some of their proposed executive branch reforms through Congress, other goals could be achieved without legislative approval. Government Matters asked former top-level OMB officials to give their perspective on the plan and how it could be implemented. Robert Shea, Former Associate Director for Administration, OMB- “There’s stuff in there that can be done administratively that doesn’t need congressional action. But the vast majority of what’s in the plan would require congressional authority. They need to start plowing that ground right away.” Dave Mader, Former Controller, OMB- “We need to continue to run the government. Clearly, there are proposed changes that require legislation, but we still have a responsibility to citizens to deliver our services. If you use the PMA, and particularly the capitals, whether you consolidate or not, those are things that need to be done to increase our efficiency and effectiveness. They are complementary and foundational to any future changes that that Congress and the administration may enact.” Dan Chenok, Former Branch Chief of Information Policy & Technology, OMB- “There are a number of activities that are toward the end of the plan. Things like creating a customer service experience that build on bipartisan progress in this area, things like awarding federal employees new gear awards that Deputy Director for Management Margaret Weichert has introduced. There are a number of good government activities exist in the plan, and there are also activities that OMB can take to begin to start the dialogue on some of the longer-term elements. To learn how the proposal will affect federal employees, Francis Rose spoke with several federal workforce experts. Terry Gerton, President & CEO, NAPA- “I think the agency heads have to be up front and in person with their employees. They’ve got to say we don’t know how this is going to play out but we promise to keep you informed every step of the way. Sending an email is not okay, putting a taped message up is not okay. Agency heads have got to engage directly.” Dan Blair, Former Deputy Director, OPM- “[Managers need to start] filling that vacuum of information, but it’s also reassuring the workforce and making sure that your top performers keep their eye on the ball and are not distracted by the din of a reorganization that may or may not be directly affecting them.” Jeffrey Neal, Former Chief Human Capital Officer, DHS- “What I really want to see is details of this office that OPM will morph into within the Executive Office of the President, because It has to be resourced adequately. Right now OPM doesn’t devote enough of its resources to policy development. 5,000 employees and only a couple of hundred who actually do hardcore policy work. I would like to see a larger number doing policy in that EOP office.”