OPM publishes performance plan

Some goals in five-year plan apply to all federal agencies

Office of Personnel Management Strategic and Operational Plan 2006-2010

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Few agencies go to the lengths that the Office of Personnel Management did in updating its 2006-2010 strategic plan. OPM concluded that four-month process with a Webcast briefing March 8 for several thousand OPM employees nationwide.

OPM Director Linda Springer said the new five-year plan is unusual enough to warrant the Webcast and more than a dozen other briefings in the past few weeks. “I can’t stress enough how much of a departure this is from other plans,” Springer said during one of 15 briefings.

The 40-page document outlines dozens of strategic and operational objectives. Some of them apply to all federal agencies. For example, it sets an Oct. 1, 2007, deadline for all agencies to complete written succession plans describing how they plan to replace current leaders if they leave government service in the next five years.

“There are somewhere around 170 to-do items in this plan,” Springer said. “Every item in here has a date. Each of those to-do’s starts with a verb.”

Despite the plan’s heavy emphasis on achieving results, which has been a theme of Bush administration officials, Springer said the OPM document was written to conform to the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993.

“It’s not a political plan,” she said.

OPM is confident it can pay for all the objectives in the plan, Springer said. “We developed this as we developed our [fiscal 2007] budget request.”

Springer said she is aware that the information technology industry is concerned that OPM could be overwhelmed by thousands of new requests for background checks on federal contractors to meet the new requirements of Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12. But those concerns might be unwarranted, she said.

“We believe that we’ve got the right funding for OPM’s part of it,” she added.

The federal government faces increased competition for talent and an older workforce that will soon be leaving — two large challenges that inspired OPM to rewrite

its mission statement, Springer said. The new statement, displayed on a banner across the entrance to OPM’s headquarters building, is 13 words long: “Our mission is to ensure that the federal government has an effective workforce.”

“That’s it in a nutshell,” Springer said.

Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said she has not seen any strategic plans like OPM’s. “It will be interesting to see how they deliver,” she said. The union remains opposed to one of the plan’s major objectives, she added, which is legislation to change how federal employees governmentwide are managed and paid.

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