OPM report chronicles performance progress

The Office of Personnel Management has posted its annual report card on how well the agency met its key human resources goals in the previous fiscal year.

The agency’s fiscal 2010 Annual Performance Report details OPM’s success at achieving initiatives that further so-called high-performance goals, which include hiring reform, security clearance reform, wellness, telework and retirement claims processing. OPM officials said they met about 75 percent of the performance targets in fiscal 2010, down from 88 percent in fiscal 2009.

Highlights of the wide-ranging report include:

  • Hiring time. Although agencies want to eventually reduce to 80 calendar days the time it takes to hire employees for the most commonly filled positions, they took an average of 105 days in fiscal 2010, the report states. Nonetheless, that figure was a significant improvement from a baseline of 122 days in fiscal 2009.
  • Veterans employment. The government improved its hiring of veterans in the first nine months of fiscal 2010 compared to the same period in fiscal 2009 — 50,546 vets hired compared to 48,554 a year earlier. Vets accounted for 24.6 percent of new hires during that period in fiscal 2010, up from to 22.7 percent in fiscal 2009. Twenty of the 24 agencies covered under President Barack Obama’s 2009 Veterans Employment Initiative increased the number of veterans they hired, OPM officials said.
  • Clearance investigations. At the end of fiscal 2010, OPM completed 90 percent of initial clearance investigations in an average of 39 days, besting the agency’s target of 90 percent in 40 days. OPM officials said they completed more than 2 million federal background investigations in fiscal 2010, with no current backlog in its program.
  • Retirement claims. Retirement claims remain a problem area. Processing time for retirement claims stood at 108 days in fiscal 2010, far short of OPM’s target of 45 days. OPM officials said the 108-day average is partly due to a new focus on accuracy that took effect at the beginning of fiscal 2010. They said the average was also affected by the unexpected early retirements of 18,000 U.S. Postal Service workers, most of whose claims arrived in November and boosted average processing times for the rest of the year. Officials said they received the equivalent of nine weeks' worth of nondisability retirement claims during a two-week period in late November.

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