Workforce bill on tap

In what would be the first reform of government personnel policies in decades, Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) plans to introduce legislation to create agency chief human capital officers.

The Federal Workforce Improvement Act of 2002 is a comprehensive reform of civil service laws, Voinovich said during a speech at the National Academy of Public Administration's (NAPA) Performance Conference in College Park, Md., this month.

Workforce issues have affected the government's ability to carry out its duties, Voinovich said. After Sept. 11, "it has become critical to have well-trained federal employees," he said.

Myra Howze Shiplett, director of NAPA's Center for Human Resource Management, said NAPA has been working with the senator and his staff. "We think the legislation is absolutely moving in the right direction," she said.

The proposed legislation would amend the 1993 Government Performance and Results Act to require agencies to make workforce plans part of their overall performance plans, Voinovich said. It would also reform the government's slow hiring processes.

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

The bill has much better prospects as a result of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, because now lawmakers can make a real connection between workforce issues and homeland security, Voinovich said. He introduced similar legislation last fall.

Shiplett said the bill addresses issues that NAPA research has identified as problems. "Due in large part to the influence of technology, the way people work has changed significantly," she said. The government needs to be flexible and people need to be able to shift from one project to another. "The current structure doesn't allow that."

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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