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Big Guns Take Aim at Federal Hiring Problem

Big Guns Take Aim at Federal Hiring Problem

(Courtesy of american progress under a Creative Commons License)

Joe Davidson | The Washington Post via YellowBrix

October 05, 2009

#3. Notifying applicants about where they stand at four points: when the application is received;when the applicant’s qualifications are assessed; when the applicant is referred, or not, to a selecting official; and when the applicant is selected or rejected.

#4. Engaging hiring managers in all critical points of the process.

If producing succinct job announcements and letting applicants know where they stand sounds pretty basic, the need Orszag felt to include them among the key points in a White House memo lets you know just how bad federal hiring is.

Berry, in an interview, called the four tasks outlined in the memo “baby teeth” in an ongoing effort to seriously improve federal hiring. The hiring plan establishes a base line, he said, that allows OMB and OPM to identify “who’s performing, who’s dragging their feet and what needs to be done.”

Orszag also wants agency heads to show how they would meet two alternative targets — freezing their 2011 budget requests at 2010 levels and cutting spending by 5 percent.

That could be tricky, given that President Obama’s budget for fiscal 2010 says, “The Federal Government will hire several hundred thousand new civilian employees during the next four years” even if many of the new hires will replace retirees.

The savings, however, could be found in areas other than federal personnel, including changing procurement practices and pressing for contracting reforms, according to Tom Gavin, an OMB spokesman.

On the worker satisfaction front, agencies were told to “submit an inventory of their current wellness activities” for employees as part of their fiscal 2011 budget plans. That includes the availability of cafeteria, fitness and health facilities, and even plans to provide “vending machines offering to promote fruits, vegetables and heart healthy choices.”

The OMB memo can be found at

Contact Joe Davidson at

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