Success of civil service overhaul could hinge on rollout of Pentagon plan

If the Defense Department's pending personnel system hits bumps in its implementation, that may spell disaster for the Bush administration's plans to reform the civil service, according to a new Government Accountability Report.

In 2003, Congress allowed the Pentagon to reshape its civilian personnel system. Earlier this year, Defense personnel officials proposed replacing the General Schedule system, implementing a performance pay framework, streamlining the employee appeals process and scaling back collective bargaining. The new system would affect more than 700,000 employees.

Pentagon officials, however, did not include employee representatives in the working groups that developed the proposals, auditors found (GAO-05-730). This decision could hinder the department in encouraging employees to embrace the system once it is implemented, according to GAO.

"A successful transformation must provide for meaningful involvement by employees and their representatives to gain their input into and understanding of the changes that will occur," the report stated.

With the Bush administration pushing for a complete overhaul of the civil service, the system under way at Defense could "serve as a model for governmentwide transformation in human capital management," according to GAO. "However, if not properly designed and effectively implemented, it could severely impede progress toward a more performance- and results-based system for the federal government as a whole."

Employee organizations and some lawmakers are keen to see results from NSPS and the Homeland Security Department's personnel system, known as MAX HR, before expanding personnel reforms governmentwide.

GAO recommended that Pentagon officials identify all the stakeholders and their concerns, and then "tailor and customize key messages to be delivered to groups of employees to meet their divergent interests and information needs." The department also should "develop procedures for evaluating NSPS that contain results-oriented performance measures and reporting requirements," the report stated.

In a written response, Defense officials charged that they "took great care to ensure that the materials and messages addressed" the concerns of employees, labor unions, managers and senior officials. However, they also acknowledged that "you can never communicate enough when attempting to implement a major transformation initiative" and agreed to step up their efforts.

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
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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

    Download
  • 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.

    Download

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