Supervisor training bill clears House subcommittee

A House subcommittee on Wednesday approved legislation to improve training for federal managers.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, Postal Service and the District of Columbia passed the bill by a 3-1 vote, with Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, opposing the legislation.

The 2010 Federal Supervisor Training Act (H.R. 5522), introduced by Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., would establish a program to educate supervisors on a range of managerial issues, including developing and discussing goals with employees, communicating progress, and conducting performance appraisals. Supervisors also would receive training on prohibited personnel practices, and employee collective bargaining and union participation rights.

The bill would mandate the creation of mentoring programs within departments and agencies, encouraging new supervisors to learn from the experiences of more seasoned managers.

Alisia Abegg Essig, a spokeswoman for Chaffetz, said the congressman believed the bill was duplicative and unnecessary.

Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, introduced a similar bill (S. 674) in March 2009. Soon after the House version was introduced on June 15, the Senate bill cleared the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. It now awaits a vote by the full Senate.

The Federal Managers Association strongly supports the bill.

"American taxpayers demand a federal workforce that is held fully accountable for achieving performance results," FMA National President Patricia Niehaus said after Wednesday's markup. "Passage of the Federal Supervisor Training Act will ensure federal agencies develop their workforce leaders' managerial competencies to meet the public's expectations."

Niehaus said federal managers who are properly trained and able to actively engage employees in their work are instrumental to the government's success.

"Creating a cadre of managers who effectively motivate and direct their employees requires a strong commitment to building and refining their supervisory skill sets," she said. "Companies across the private sector recognize this common-sense principle, and it is imperative the federal government adequately invest in their civil service leaders as well."

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