Modernization must preserve the enduring legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the foundational values set forth in the merit principles. Those principles ground our nation’s civil service laws, regulations, procedures, and practices…literally every aspect of the relationship between our Federal Government and its employees. Codified in statute and regulated by OPM, these principles represent the core of our system, and they guarantee a civil service that is free from any partisan political activity or influence – without diminishing the responsiveness and accountability of our civil servants to the public interest. These must not be compromised.
Change will be a constant in the 21st Century civil service; to meet this challenge, we must develop and deploy a civil service system that is flexible, agile and responsive enough to adapt to any circumstance. This is our second principle of modernization: provide agencies (and those who lead them) with maximum flexibility…but within the bounds set by the core values that define our civil service system.
Agency flexibility must also be balanced and bounded by yet another imperative: our responsibility to capitalize on the tremendous efficiencies and economies that can only be achieved by leveraging the Federal Government’s immense “buying power” as a single employer. This serves as our third guiding principle: leveraging scale.
Our fourth and final guiding principle: the modernization process must
be collaborative, and the implementation and operation of the agency-specific
systems that emerge from it must be managed by OPM, carefully coordinated
so as to avoid adverse externalities. No institution can transform itself
successfully without the “buy-in” of its most critical stakeholders.
In the case of the Federal civil service, that means everybody from senior
agency executives and managers to front-line employees and the organizations
that represent them. It also means OPM.