Senator preps workforce reform

Proposing what would be the first reform of government personnel policies in years, Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) soon will introduce a bill that would create agency chief human capital officers.

The Federal Workforce Improvement Act of 2002, which could be introduced as soon as next week, is a comprehensive reform of the civil service laws, Voinovich said during a speech at the National Academy of Public Administration's Performance Conference in College Park, Md., June 4.

Workforce problems have had a great impact on the government's ability to carry out its duties, Voinovich said. He noted that he was disheartened when the government had to issue a call for people who spoke Arab languages following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"It has become critical to have well-trained federal employees," he said.

The proposed legislation will require agencies to make human capital plans part of overall performance plans as required by the Government Performance and Results Act, he said.

Furthermore, it will reform some hiring processes that cause the government to take as long as a year before hiring personnel, he said.

Specific provisions of the bill are still being negotiated. However, one version of the bill requires the Office of Personnel Management to create a system for assessing how agencies are managing workforce issues.

The bill has a much better future as a result of the terrorist attacks. "Until now, this has not been easy," Voinovich acknowledged. Federal workforce issues were not a priority on Capitol Hill, but now lawmakers can make a real connection between workforce issues and homeland security, he said.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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