I think Berry is doing a great job of addressing hiring issues to the best of his authority. Since each federal agency has been delegated OPM’s hiring authority, Berry only has influence, over the hiring decisions they make, not power. Additionally, any changes to 5 CFR will have to be passed by Congress (we know how well they collaborate…).
OPM’s hiring information in their 5 year strategic plan is to reform the Federal hiring process by: 1) Promoting innovative and coordinated approaches to recruiting and hiring students, mid-career professionals, and retirees to meet agency talent needs; 2) Streamlining the end-to-end hiring process to create a positive experience for applicants, managers, and HR specialists; 3) Increasing manager engagement in the hiring process; 4) Improving USAJOBS and integrating other components of the on-line hiring system to create a world-class experience for job seekers and agency recruiters; 5) Providing targeted direction on Federal hiring to HR officials; and 6) Promoting efficiency and effectiveness in hiring practices and processes compliant with merit principles.
Please notice that the End-to-End Hiring Initiative (http://www.opm.gov/publications/EndToEnd-HiringInitiative.pdf) referred to above includes provisions for essay writing (also known as KSAs) so the feds are still using essays as possible assessments for determining the best qualified candidate. They may be placed in a different place in the process, i.e. having applicants write them after their resume has been reviewed, but they are KSAs, nonetheless.
My top three issues are:
1. Pass the 2010 budget so the Senior Corps (a flagship program) can receive funding.
2. Pass the 2010 budget so the extra hiring that was allocated in it takes place.
3. Pass the 2010 budget. I don’t know why we are worrying about the freezes proposed in the 2011 budget, when the 2010 budget has not yet been passed.