Executive order asserts the power of OPM, MSPB

Even federal agencies that don't have to follow standard civil service rules must still answer to merit system oversight agencies, according to an executive order issued in the Federal Register Thursday.

Title 5 of the U.S. Code dictates standard personnel rules for the federal government. The Office of Personnel Management is required by law to ensure that federal agencies operate their human resources management programs in accordance with the merit system principles of fairness, efficiency and objectivity. OPM does so by reviewing workforce information that agencies are legally required to provide.

But certain federal agencies are exempt from the personnel rules of Title 5. For example, performance-based organizations, such as the Education Department's Student Financial Aid office, are exempt from the strict personnel rules of Title 5. Parts of the IRS and parts of the Veterans Affairs Department, as well as the entire Federal Aviation Administration, are also not governed by Title 5.

As a result, there has been debate in the federal human resources community as to whether these agencies are required to report workforce information to OPM and are subject to oversight by OPM and the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), the federal government's guardian of merit-based employment.

Executive Order 13197 ends the debate by clarifying that all federal agencies in the executive branch, including those exempt from Title 5, must comply with merit system principles and must submit workforce information to OPM for oversight purposes. There is one exception: agencies that deal with national security, such as the CIA, FBI, Defense Intelligence Agency and National Imagery and Mapping Agency, are exempt from the order.

"The President and the public need to be assured that federal agencies are monitoring the exercise of all human resources management authorities that have been delegated to them," the order said.

OPM's merit systems oversight office uses workforce data to identify opportunities for improving personnel programs and to help agencies with effective recruitment and employee development.

John Palguta, director of MSPB's office of policy and evaluation, said the executive order has been in the works since last spring. Work on the executive order, dated Jan. 18, was completed in time for it to be issued during the last days of the Clinton administration. But Palguta said he doubts that the Bush administration will override the order.

"It simply sets the record straight," Palguta said. "It's one of those good government provisions that makes sure Congress and the President will have access to information."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.