Hiring Reform – Part 1
October 1, 2010 at 1:27 pm #112102
The Memo on Hiring Reform was issued by President Obama with great fanfare on May 11, 2010. There had been some build up from the previous year, including an ill-conceived Senate Bill S736, but now the directives and commitments are in black and white, right?
The question always asked is why a “memo” and not an Executive Order? After all an Executive Order is believed to carry the weight of law, whereas a “memo” just sets the stage for a hook shot to the round file.
In his first week as President, Obama signed Executive Orders to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay in one year and to expand the Freedom of Information Act laws to make transparency better by putting the burden on the government.
The follow through on these Executive Orders has been abysmal. Guantanamo Bay is still open, and transparency in the government is only getting harder. Obama even abolished his Czar position dedicated to transparency in government. Both of these “laws” have been completely dismissed by the administration itself.
Meaning, if the President isn’t going to follow through with his own Executive Orders than what is an HR Director / CHCO supposed to think of a “memo”. Further, it is perceived that an Executive Order carries the weight of law and only a sitting President, legislation or court ruling can overturn it.
A “memo” will simply expire at the conclusion of his time in office. With the way things are going politically, why would agencies embrace Hiring Reform? It wasn’t well thought out it and has a few “unintended consequences”. The fact that it came in the form of a “memo” only shows the lack of seriousness behind it.
With so many agencies not overly enthused with OPM; how many will just try to wait this administration out? Or just wait out the current OPM Director, who is rumored to be eyeing a change of scenery.
Even the President isn’t about to be outdone by his own double speak. He gave agencies an out in his very own “memo”. Section 5 is absolutely hilarious. It lists a variety of ways in which agencies won’t have to comply with Hiring reform. It’s literally like the small print of a drug commercial stating that side effects may occur.
Hiring Reform’s issues are two fold. First it was not well conceived and second it’s not seen as serious. A “memo”? Just last year OMB put out a “memo” that said in part that agency budgets would be affected if they weren’t fully integrated to USAJOBS. For the record, OPM’s USA Staffing forces applicants to maintain 2 separate accounts. There is no single sign-on.
You have to be serious when you make demands. Is there not one parent with young kids inside of OPM who understands this? (Rhetorical question)
Once one agency balks, others will quickly follow. Since OPM and this Administration don’t follow through on their commitments they will have only themselves to blame.
Frankly, OPM is the problem and needs to get out of the way of itself. It’s so consumed with self preservation that it literally can’t see the light of day. Just look at the standing register fiasco. They wanted to help; they knew what had to be done. They created standing registers, got a bunch of applicants, but never determined what the actual need was first. They put the proverbial cart before the horse.
So now they have over 100,000 applicants and only 71 hires to show for it. How’s that “deep dive” going? Are status updates going out to those abused applicants every couple weeks? Where are the jobs? (Rhetorical again)
I agree that federal hiring needs reform and changes in law to address Title 5, etc. However, having read and commented on Senate Bill S736 it is clear that OPM has influenced this legislation to benefit Plain Old OPM (POO) and that stinks!
But hey, take comfort in that Hiring Reform will take hold on November 1, 2010. Didn’t you get the “memo”?
October 1, 2010 at 5:26 pm #112108
The President issued a “Memo” because everything that was included could be accomplished with a change in policy alone. Unfortunately, the “everything” is just window-dressing. Genuinely fixing the process will require MASSIVE change to law.
Federal hiring has always been hard but it hasn’t always been broken. Shouldn’t we look at what has changed??
For example, I remember when we had a “merit system.” Now, right or wrong, the exceptions to merit fill pages. Veteran’s preference, veteran’s spouse preference, veteran’s survivor preference, veteran reemployment return rights, CTAP, ICTAP, Reemployment Priority List, Stopper List, overseas assignment return rights, etc. Adjudication of all of this takes time!
We also have this little thing in hiring called the “Uniform Guidelines” (UGESP) that everyone seems to have forgotten. With all the changes being made in the name of “Hiring Reform,” it will be impossible to comply with the UGESP because it will be impossible to identify the required “applicant” population that is the foundation for measuring disparate treatment and determining adverse impact! (This will become an easy way for anyone to make $300K. (1) File a lawsuit; (2) agency determines that its actions are indefensible; and (3) pays the problem to go away!)
I also remember when “equal pay for equal work” meant just that. Today, “Position Classification” is a sham!
There was a time when the federal position classification system still had some integrity and the Position Description (PD) was a respected artifact in the human capital process. Today, PDs are not classified, they are “justified.” PD content and listed “major duties” are driven more by what is needed to support a grade and less by what work is actually done.
Then, once the grade is determined, we have TWO pay laws to contend with, Title 5 and FLSA. Unfortunately, like many of the federal personnel laws, these pay laws do not agree requiring pay to be calculated TWICE for non-exempt employees. The employee receives the highest of the TWO pay calculations.
An accurate PD is the keystone that hold the human capital process together. The PD and position classification comprise the official document record of the pay setting process. The PD, and associated job analysis, are the reference source for job announcements and crediting plans and are the foundation documents for Performance Appraisal and discipline for poor performance. The PD is the ruler for determining the appropriateness of training, as you can take courses to improve your performance of assigned duties but NOT to prepare for another job.
Is it any wonder that way too many of the wrong people apply for particular jobs when the description in the announcement has practically nothing to do with genuine job requirements? How can position classification be the foundation for federal pay setting when Position Classification has been aboilished as an HR specialty and nobody knows how to do it right anymore!
October 8, 2010 at 11:15 am #112106
Amen – from a former classifier who has had to adjust from a very strict reading of the standards in one agency, to a very loose interpretation and unclear job duties in another, I totally agree. Grades are too high because the supervisors only look at the pay scales, not the duties performed. And you are right that not too many HR specialists even know what the Uniform Guidelines are! I guess I’m a dinosaur.
November 8, 2010 at 3:36 pm #112104
GET RID OF KSAS!! HECK, GET RID OF MERIT!! Why should people have to show that they are qualified and worthy just to get a job?
It’s the same with government procurement.
Why should I have to show that I can do the work before I get a government contract? Why do I have to actually acknowledge and address the government’s specifications? Why don’t federal buyers just go to my website and then fax me a check?
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