The plan to combine the Office of Personnel Management and the General Services Administration doesn’t appear to have many fans on Capitol Hill. With a panel of representatives remaining skeptical, the plan is also facing criticism from members of the Human Capital community. Steve Lenkart. executive director of the National Federation of Federal Employees, says that the current reasons for the merger are insufficient.
“I think it’s a lot of visionary-type tactics going on with very little substance to back it up. Overall, what I kept hearing over and over again from Deputy Director Weichert’s testimony, is that OPM has problems because it’s underfunded, it doesn’t have the correct authorities,” Lenkart said. “My initial reaction is, you’re in charge of that. Fix that. OMB runs the budget for the agencies including OPM, if it is lacking money or any kind of authority. Fix it. That’s your job. “
Dan Blair, former OPM deputy director and senior counselor at the Bipartisan Policy Center, says that it’s unclear how long this process will go on for.
“This is the beginning of a conversation. I don’t know where this is going to end but I think the administration has introduced legislation which would divest OPM of its authorities, move it over to GSA, put the policy shop at OMB. The legislation was submitted to the House and Senate last Friday, I haven’t seen a sponsor of that legislation yet. That tells me a lot,” Blair said. “At the hearing, I didn’t hear a lot of sympathy for the plan. In fact, I heard very little sympathy for the plan. I did hear that the members were respectful and impressed with Ms. Weichert’s case for change, but, again, we didn’t see what is change is going to be.”