Legislation aims to promote diversity in senior ranks

Lawmakers on Thursday introduced a measure aimed at developing a more diverse cadre of senior federal executives.

The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., in the House and Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, in the Senate, would create a federal office to oversee diversity within the Senior Executive Service. It also would provide public access to statistics on the composition of the senior ranks, and require agencies to establish panels to assess the qualifications of candidates for career-reserved SES spots.

"Diversity is one of our nation's great strengths," Davis said in a statement introducing the bill. "Ensuring that diversity at this critical level of government operations will strengthen the Senior Executive Service and improve the functioning of agencies while ensuring equal opportunity for every American."

The Senior Executives Association, a group representing career federal executives, welcomed the provision establishing the oversight office. For several years, there has been "no focal point responsible for the overall management of the career executive corps" at the Office of Personnel Management, which would house the new unit, said Carol Bonosaro, the group's president.

The new office would develop regulations and guidelines concerning diversity. It also would run mentoring efforts and establish recruiting, training and career advancement programs.

The office would maintain statistics on vacant career positions, the people qualified for them and the overall composition of the SES based on race, ethnicity, gender, age and disability. Some of this information would be made available to the public via Federal Register notices and the Internet.

The bill would establish evaluation panels at agencies to review the qualifications of candidates for career-reserved SES vacancies and pass the results along to agency Executive Resources Boards. The panels would have three members, of which one would need to be a woman, and another a member of a racial or ethnic minority group.

The legislation could be "substantially improved" by letting agencies decide between establishing the diversity panels or creating diversity subcommittees within the Executive Resources Boards, Bonosaro said.

She also noted that while the bill moves in the direction of increasing diversity in the SES, "efforts must be undertaken, as well, to ensure that the career ladder which leads to the SES has a sufficiently diverse population so that the bill's provisions, in the end, will be successful in achieving the objective of increased diversity."

OPM spokesman Michael Orenstein said the agency had just received a copy of the bill, and would not comment on it.

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 Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    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 Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    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
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

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