OPM: Revamped Federal Executive Boards find success in 2007

Federal Executive Boards’ restructured business operations helped improve federal programs outside the Beltway in 2007, according to the latest FEB annual report from the Office of Personnel Management.

The 28 boards — composed of the highest-ranking officials from each agency in a local area — serve as a catalyst for communications, coordination and collaboration among federal regional offices nationwide.

In fiscal 2007, FEB operations were revamped under a three-tier line of business to provide a more defined focus for programs and services. The new areas of focus are emergency preparedness, security and employee safety; human capital readiness; and intergovernmental and community outreach.

The report "demonstrates the effectiveness of our Federal Executive Boards in ensuring streamlined and efficient public services are made available across America,” said OPM Director Linda Springer. “Federal Executive Boards are vital to the effective operation of the federal government. With more than 88 percent of the federal civilian workforce located outside the Beltway, we must have close coordination of federal agency activities, regardless of their location or the situation.”

The 2007 report, released Jan. 11, details how the Minnesota FEB improved emergency preparedness in that region in responding to the Interstate 35W bridge disaster on Aug. 1, OPM said. After the bridge collapsed, FEB immediately opened lines of communication to federal agencies and employees throughout the area to make sure they were aware of detours and closures, the impact on their colleagues and federal efforts to assist with the incident. FEB also helped make local connections between federal agencies and state and local authorities involved in the disaster response.

“FEB is a valuable partner for state and local for state and local emergency management agencies,” said an official at the Minnesota Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. “It provides an extra layer of support and realism to preparedness discussions, tabletop exercises and daily emergency management business.”

In the workforce area, FEBs offered low-cost or no-cost training opportunities to more than 23,000 federal employees in 2007, to help ensure that the workforce maintains its skills and competencies.

In addition, FEBs spearheaded efforts to recruit talented workers to the government by organizing Federal Career Days at college campuses across the country. The Veterans Affairs Department, for example, was able to hire eight employees from the Pittsburgh-area Federal Career Day, a VA official said.

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