Chief of the Year: Human Capital

On June 15, Government Executive is featuring the government's chief officers of acquisition, finance, human capital, information and information security in a special issue of the magazine. This year we've identified individuals to highlight as Chiefs of the Year -- not necessarily because they are unsurpassed in their fields, but because their peers have much to learn from their experiences.

Chris Flynn

Jeff Neal
Chief Human Capital Officer
Homeland Security Department

Jeff Neal knows from long experience how complicated federal human resources issues can be. A career senior executive, he jokes he "burrowed out" to a political appointment, serving as chief human capital officer at the Defense Logistics Agency before coming to his current post. Max Stier, president of the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service, says Neal is on a short list of "some real stars . . . a very, very talented individual and really a great pick for DHS."

At DHS, Neal faces the challenge of creating a coherent community out of a department cobbled together like Frankenstein's monster out of different organizations-and a wholly new one, the Transportation Security Administration, which he says was invented by "a handful of people who were stuck in a conference room and told to build an agency."

Among the issues he's attacking head on are what he says is an overreliance on contractors and the need for a deep, comprehensive leadership development program. One of his first moves as CHCO was to expand the department's Senior Executive Service corps and to tap talented executives to work on broader issues.

Neal isn't just concerned with his own department. He's been part of conversations with the Office of Personnel Management about how to revitalize the Chief Human Capital Officers Council, and gave the agency feedback on its hiring reform proposal.

"That's very nice to see, that OPM is not developing solutions and lobbing them over the transom to people," he says.

National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley says Neal has won her respect by opening his door not just to her, but also to the rank-and-file TSA employees and Customs and Border Protection officers her union represents. Those meetings might not have resolved the tricky legal questions around unionization at TSA, where NTEU and the American Federation of Government Employees want to represent workers, but Kelley says simply holding the sessions has helped build good will.

Neal is "a very open guy," Kelley says. "He was very well-received. He's a good listener, and he's a thoughtful guy. There's no hesitancy to be up front in a discussion or a conversation, and that goes a long way."

Chiefs of the Year 2010 main page
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:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

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

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

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