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OPM's Berry Deals Out First Set of Civil Service Reform Suggestions

OPM's Berry Deals Out First Set of Civil Service Reform Suggestions

OPM Director John Berry

Jason Miller | Executive Editor | FederalNewsRadio

November 03, 2009

John Berry fired the first salvo for how to “reinvigorate” and “unshackle” all aspects of federal human resources.

The director of the Office of Personnel Management laid out Monday some initial ideas about changes that he hopes could bring agency hiring, firing, recruiting and retention practices in line with other Fortune 500 companies.

Listen to WFED’s Federal Drive

“Our hiring system is broken,” Berry tells students during a speech at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School, where he graduated from in 1980. “Five decades after the last major attempt at pay reform, the cracks are showing. A significant and growing number of our employees are not in the GS pay system. This system cannot stand another three decades, let alone five. We could limp along for a few more years in the current GS system, or we can seize this moment to build something new.”

And that something new could mean getting rid of the General Schedule system, opening up bonuses of up to 30 percent to all employees-not just those in the Senior Executive Service-and make training of managers and employees the utmost priority.

Berry calls continuing education the foundation to upgrade human resources processes across the government.

“The federal government does a pathetic job with training,” Berry says. “Outside of the Defense Department, we spend next to nothing on training. It’s shameful.”

He says the government could have the greatest systems in the world, but without trained workers, the system will fail.

“Training should be both formal and ongoing,” he says. “It means taking courses at our Federal Executive Institute and at colleges and universities, but it also means instilling a culture in the office of mentoring and nurturing the up-and-coming staffers.”

Berry also says it means dedicating a percentage of the budget to training and ensuring it isn’t the first thing cut and last thing restored.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 5 years ago


    This article started out talking about hiring and ended one sentence later. This is my biggest complaint with the government hiring process. It is controlled by people who already have government positions and they do not know how to let outsiders in. After the first sentence Berry talks about the pay system, the bonus system, training, getting the best people into the positions where they’re most needed, every day I come to work, I see great employees and great managers, and the federal appraisal system. Well to me the government has a great pay system. If you come to work looking for a bonus in your pay at the end of the week then you took a position that does not meet your financial needs and you should not have done that. I have never heard of a soldier, sailor, air-man or marine receiving any bonus in their pay at the end of the month and they are in the most difficult positions that this government has to offer and they do not complain. I agree with Berry on training for non military positions but it should not be forced on or denied to anyone. If someone likes their current position and pay they should be allowed to keep it as long as they continue to meet their production standards and no one should be denied training if they want or require it in order to prosper. As a supervisor, or any person in a leadership position it is your duty to promote or try to promote your best employees into positions where they can best benefit the company or the government even if this means losing them in your particular branch. What this does is place the best people into the positions where they are most needed. Berry also talks about the federal appraisal system well I do not know much about it because I can not get hired but if its anything like the military appraisal system it is a tool designed to present a synapses of a persons overall ability and suitability for their current and future positions within a company or the government. There is never a need to change appraisal systems. There is a need to force the writers of appraisals to validate the appraisals that they give to their subordinates because too many people with the top score will invalidate an appraisal system Berry says a lot of things in this article some I agree with some of them I don’t but if he would like to know what they are he’s with the government and can track me down if he wants to.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 5 years ago


    It would be nice if they would actually hire qualified people instead of just giving the positions to spouses and family members.

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