The effort to move the Office of Personnel Management under the General Services Administration has seen scrutiny from both unions and Congress, and the House will continue debating the proposal when they come back from recess. Eleanor Holmes Norton told Government Matters that she wants to see more information about the plan before going forward. Terry Gerton, president & CEO of the National Academy of Public Administration, says that acting OPM Director Margaret Weichert needs to provide more details.
“What are the options that are on the table, what does it cost to execute those options, and what do the various options deliver for Congress’ intent to keep the management of civilian personnel an independent function?” Gerton said. “While costs are a concern and functionality is a concern, and investment is a concern, I think they really want to see that business case. She’s gotta put that together and bring it back.”
Bill Valdez, president of the Senior Executives Association, says that one of his main concerns is that workforce leaders and senior executives haven’t been in the loop on this effort, which could lead to unforeseen consequences.
“We’ve had conversations with OPM and OMB and up on the hill about the absence of a dialogue on that very issue. Particularly concerning to us is OPM’s status as an independent agency that has a statutory requirement to ensure that human capital practices are aligned to the merit principles,” Valdez said. “Those merit principles guarantee a non-partisan, apolitical, merit-based civil service. Our concern is that if OPM’s independent agency status is removed and put into the Executive Office of the President or within GSA, that will be lost, and it would be catastrophic to our system of government.”