Report outlines ways to improve the federal workforce

The next President must take quick action to address a "human capital crisis" in the federal government, warned Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, in a report by the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, Restructuring and the District of Columbia released Monday. "More than half the federal workforce-900,000 employees-will be eligible to leave [retire] in just 4 years," said Voinovich at a press conference announcing the report's release. The report, "Report to the President: The Crisis in Human Capital," makes several recommendations to the incoming President on how to improve federal human capital management. Voinovich is chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, Restructuring and the District of Columbia, which has held numerous hearings over the past year on federal management challenges. Voinovich and Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., who also spoke at the press conference, faulted poor planning during the downsizing of the 1990s and a lack of leadership from the executive branch for the impending employee shortfall. "We have not had leadership from the top of the [Office of Management and Budget]. There has been no 'M' in OMB," said Thompson. The report finds that shortages in the federal workforce are compounded by agencies' inability to compete with the private sector for talented workers and an insufficient commitment to training. "NASA's Inspector General testified that she constantly loses qualified candidates to the private sector because it takes an average of four to six months for candidates to navigate the federal hiring process," Voinovich said. The report identifies numerous ways for the next President to reform and rejuvenate the federal workforce:
  • Agencies should have limited "direct" or "on-the-spot" hiring authority for information technology positions and outstanding applicants.
  • Training budgets should be centralized and given their own line item in agency budgets.
  • Agencies should have greater flexibility to experiment with broad-banding payment systems.
Voinovich urged the next President to use the transition to evaluate the management skills of potential appointees. Specifically, he suggested that the next President distribute a management questionnaire prepared by the General Accounting Office to all potential appointees.

The senators' comments were echoed by U.S. Comptroller General David Walker. Walker said human capital issues would likely be included in GAO's report on major management and program risks throughout the government, which is due out next month. Voinovich said his report will be made available to transition advisors to Texas Gov. George W. Bush, but will not be delivered to the transition team of Vice President Al Gore. "In our mind, Governor Bush has met the threshold for a successful presidential candidate under the [1963] Presidential Transition Act," said Voinovich spokesman Scott Milburn. The human capital crisis did not necessitate adding jobs to the federal workforce, Voinovich said. "For hiring new people, the issue shouldn't be how to bring in many [new] people; the issue should be getting the right people to get the job done."

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

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

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


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