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News Release

May 8, 2009

Contact: Edmund D. Byrnes

OPM Director Berry Testifies Before Senate Oversight Subcommittee and Discusses Recruitment in the Federal Government

Washington, DC - U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director John Berry testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. The focus of his testimony was on OPM's efforts to improve recruitment and hiring in the Federal workforce.

"OPM recognizes the outstanding contributions made by Federal employees, however, it needs to also be mindful of the challenges it faces as the Federal Government recruits the next generation of employees who will continue to make this Nation strong," said Director Berry. "I am convinced there is no other priority more important than making the Federal recruiting and hiring process as transparent, efficient, effective, and user-friendly as possible, from the perspective of both job applicants and the Federal agencies that need these critical skills in order to accomplish their missions."

Currently, OPM is working with agencies to develop a number of initiatives designed to improve the Federal Government's hiring efforts. It also is working to ensure that information on the initiatives is "permeated" throughout the Federal workforce, and is used as a standard way of operating.

"The Federal Government should not use an optional, voluntary approach to driving innovative and bold changes to human resources management," said Berry. "If we are going to make any real progress toward addressing what the American public has requested—an easy-to-use application process that both Federal managers and applicants deserve and a recruiting and hiring process that brings the right talent to the mission - we must engage in an aggressive campaign to mandate the needed innovations."

Steps that OPM has made to streamline the Federal hiring and recruiting process include collaborating with the Federal Acquisition Institute (FAI) to introduce the idea of working as one Federal Government to recruit and hire contract specialists at the entry level; streamlining job announcements for more than 20 mission-critical and heavily recruited occupations; reaching out to agencies - such as the Army Corps of Engineers, Defense Contract Management Agency, and Social Security Administration - where there is an identified need to fill mission-critical occupations and a recognition that some of these same occupations exist in downsizing industries; and, introducing new ideas on student hiring.

"I am convinced we can make bold changes," said Director Berry. "Some are relatively simple administrative changes, such as writing job announcements in plain language, while others may require legislative changes. But we cannot and will not succeed unless and until we start holding ourselves accountable for changing...if we don't ‘step off the curb,' we will never begin the journey."

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Our mission is to ensure the Federal Government has an effective civilian workforce. OPM supports U.S. agencies with personnel services and policy leadership including staffing tools, guidance on labor-management relations and programs to improve work force performance.

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