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OPM Streamlines Process for Agencies to Request New Executives

New process focuses on establishing agencies’ needs, rather than analyzing individual positions.

The Office of Personnel Management announced last week that it has streamlined the process by which agencies seek authorization to establish senior executive and some technical positions, shifting the focus of applications from analysis of proposed posts to why an agency needs them.

On May 6, acting OPM Director Margaret Weichert sent a memo to agency heads soliciting their requests for senior executive, senior level and scientific/professional position allocations. This process occurs on a biennial basis; agency requests will be for the 2020 and 2021 fiscal years.

In a press release, OPM said the move to streamline the process, which includes a simplified submission template for agencies, is part of the implementation effort around President Trump’s management agenda.

“OPM’s restructured process emphasizes the importance for agencies to explain their need for additional senior positions, rather than creating a lengthy proposal for a suggested position,” OPM stated. “The streamlined process reduces the volume of information agencies are required to provide OPM, instead focusing only on the most essential information required to request more executive positions to be allocated to an agency.”

The new process specifically eliminates requirements that agencies provide descriptions of proposed positions, as well as “detailed outcomes of each position” and that agencies prioritize all positions they request. The title of each proposed position is still required.

OPM stressed in an accompanying document that the new process does not eliminate the requirement that agencies re-evaluate their existing senior executive and technical position allocations before requesting new ones, particularly if existing positions are vacant.

“If an agency is requesting additional allocations, OPM expects the agency to first analyze and address why current allocations are not being redeployed to meet critical mission needs before requesting additional allocations,” OPM wrote. “Therefore, agencies should explain, for any [vacancy] rates at or exceeding 8 percent: how long the allocation has been vacant, why it is still vacant; if relevant, what steps the agency has taken to fill the vacancy, and where in the recruitment process the vacant allocation is.”

OPM said agencies will have until the first week of July to make their submissions for the 2020 and 2021 fiscal years.