OMB pledges to keep homeland security employees in the loop

Employees of the proposed Homeland Security Department will be kept informed about how the massive reorganization of federal agencies will affect them, a top official in the reorganization effort pledged this week. Mark Everson, deputy director for management of the Office of Management and Budget, said OMB would create a special team to communicate with the 170,000 employees slated to move to the new department. The team will try to eliminate the uncertainty surrounding the massive reorganization by telling employees how the process will affect them, Everson said. "We'll have a separate group to work on internal communication so we don't have people focusing on anxieties, such as who's going to get what job," Everson said in an interview with Government Executive. He added that communication would be essential if OMB and the agencies make organizational changes that alter how front-line employees do their jobs. "[Communication] becomes particularly important as you make changes at the operational level," he said. "You want to make sure you communicate them thoroughly and properly so there is no ambiguity and uncertainty." While the White House has said that no employees will lose their jobs in the transition, reorganizers will explore whether some agencies are performing duplicative work that could be consolidated, according to Everson. "We will take an inventory of what's out there in existing components coming in and…if there are redundancies, we'll try to find a way to take out elements that are nonproductive," he said Everson is heading up a team that will cobble together the border and transportation security division of the new department. If Congress approves the administration's plan, this division will be home to nine out of 10 employees in the new department and account for two-thirds of its $37 billion budget. Because he served the Reagan administration as deputy commissioner of the INS, Everson has a working familiarity with many of the agencies slated to move to the border and transportation division. "I'm very conscious of the fact that we need to get people to cooperate together, and I'm convinced from the meetings I've had that we are going to get just that," he said. Reorganizers will explore whether some agencies should be moved into the new department before others. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta has said the new Transportation Security Administration should be among the last agencies to shift to the new department. OMB will consider this view, Everson said. "You have to make sure you have absolute operational integrity when you move," he said. "Clearly, TSA is in the process of being created. They are at a different point than the Coast Guard, which is a long-established organization." OMB is detailing employees from various agencies to help manage the reorganization, but Everson said he could not estimate how many employees will end up working on the project. He said the reorganization would not sap much energy from the president's five-point management agenda, in part because OMB has already tapped the chief operating officers of Cabinet departments to implement the agenda across government. The deputy secretary of a department usually serves as its chief operating officer. "The management agenda is something that is at a stage now where it is very clearly owned by the chief operating officers of the Cabinet departments," Everson said. "We've got three very active committees on the President's Management Council that are actively championing those initiatives."

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.