Springer touts OPM's strategic plan for next two years

The Office of Personnel Management today unveiled its strategic and operational goals — and deadlines for those goals — for 2008.

"It's our 'to do' list with a due date so everyone will know when we have done what we said we were going to do," said OPM Director Linda Springer, speaking at a briefing at OPM headquarters in Washington. "Our job is to make sure the federal government has the civilian workforce it needs to do the work of the federal government."

Each year, OPM introduces new goals to its overall strategic plan in the form of an addendum. The latest addendum sets out 105 additional goals for the next two years, Springer said.

"Most are in '08, a few are in '09 and some in 2010," she said. "The idea here is to capture emerging projects and issues and to capture things that are publicly visible in broad way and affect a lot of people."

A prime example is OPM's Retirement Systems Modernization program, Springer said. OPM rolled out the first phase of the program Feb. 26, meeting a March 1 deadline to let agencies compute the annuities of about 26,000 federal employees. The system, RetireEZ, will help ensure that employees receive initial retirement benefits in full when they are due, Springer said.

"This is the thing that will allow us to make sure that that expectation is met," she said. "This is a big deal."

For security goals, OPM wants to speed background investigations, have agencies improve their adjudication of security clearances and make certain that security clearances transfer faster among agencies.

Other OPM goals focus on improving federal recruitment and retention of new workers. They include developing standardized requirements for certain skilled positions and pressing for legislation to let retired employees return to work without losing their retirement benefits.

OPM's strategic plan for the next two years is on the agency's Web site. It includes a comprehensive list of goals and due dates for 2008 that helps ensure that OPM's programs are transparent and managers are held accountable.

"These are things we think the public should have awareness of," Springer said. "It's one thing to say you're going to do something and another thing to do it."

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