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Jessica Klement, Staff Vice President of Policy and Programs at NARFE, discusses federal employee executive orders and prioritization of human capital

President Biden recently signed executive orders repealing Schedule F and other Trump workforce executive orders. While there was some concern before Biden took office that repealing Schedule F would not completely mitigate the damage done, that appears not to be the case, according to Jessica Klement, Staff Vice President of Policy and Programs at the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

“Any implementation of Schedule F, even with rescission of the executive order, would have caused pure chaos in federal agencies,” Klement said. “What actually happened was, as best as I can tell and those I talk to, Schedule F was never implemented anywhere, thus the chaos did not ensue.”

Klement is aware of only one agency, and possibly two, that had their Schedule F lists certifed by OPM, but no action was taken to convert employees or create the Schedule F category, Klement explained.

President Biden also rescinded three other executive orders, which had to do with federal sector unions’ official time, collective bargaining rights and merit systems principles. Other topics affecting federal employees that Klement said are on the horizon include pay raise legislation and full-scale civil service modernization.

“The General Schedule is over 40 years old. It’s time we had a serious conversation about attracting top talent to the federal government,” said Klement.

Key areas for effective civil service modernization include how people are hired into the federal government, direct-hire authorities, how the right people are matched to jobs, and elevating human capital, said Klement. She said NARFE believes the OPM director should be a human capital expert and that that position should be elevated to the Cabinet level.

“If we are going to have a twenty-first century workforce, we need to prioritize human capital, and right now it just isn’t in the federal government across the board,” Klement said.

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