Trump Threatens Staff Cuts at OPM if Congress Fails to Abolish It

 

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer June 19, 2019
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​The Trump administration is warning that furloughs and possible layoffs may await about 150 employees at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) if Congress blocks a plan to eventually break up the federal HR agency. OPM employees would be transferred to other agencies under the president's plan.

We've rounded up resources and articles from SHRM Online and other trusted outlets on the news.

Potential Furloughs Loom

Acting OPM director Margaret Weichert has signaled that a small fraction of the agency's employees would be sent home without pay starting Oct. 1, and could be laid off 30 days later, according to an internal document obtained by The Washington Post.

It's the latest move in a tug-of-war between the White House and Congress over the fate of the agency of 5,565 employees that manages the civilian federal workforce.

Weichert said the possible furloughs and layoffs were "a last resort we are trying to avoid," but that the agency is cash strapped, inefficient and behind on a backlogged system of processing paperwork for retiring employees.

The transfer of the federal government's background check system and half the agency's employee population to the Defense Department on Oct. 1 will leave a $70 million hole in OPM's budget from lost revenue, according to Weichert. She said all but $23 million can be made up through other sources and the shortfall would be covered by eliminating the 150 jobs at OPM.

(The Washington Post)

OPM's Proposed Breakup

Most of the agency's functions and the remainder of its workers would move into the General Services Administration (GSA), the government's real estate and procurement arm. OPM's leadership would shift from an agency director to a deputy in the GSA and a position within the White House budget office responsible for federal workforce policy.

(Federal Times)

Big Plans for Federal HR Reform

The Trump administration has been working on a lofty overhaul of the federal government's human resources functions. In addition to overhauling performance and engagement systems for federal workers, the plans include improving the federal hiring process, adopting automation technology and reskilling employees for emerging mission-critical roles.

(SHRM Online)

21st Century Federal HR

Modernization of the government's outdated human capital legal and regulatory frameworks and building a professional HR capability are essential for any large-scale transformation of OPM to succeed, wrote Jeffrey Neal, a former chief human capital officer for the Department of Homeland Security.

(SHRM Online)

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