OPM seeks to elevate federal information management personnel

New guidance issued on classification of FOIA officials

The Obama administration has recognized information management as a high-priority occupation, and the Office of Personnel Management is taking steps to strengthen those occupations in the federal government.

Agencies can now use new OPM job titles to identify and designate employees to work on Freedom of Information Act requests and other privacy and information management matters.

OPM released clarifying guidance March 14 on classifying positions responsible for administering FOIA to improve the government’s response time.


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“Transparency is one of the cornerstones of this administration,” OPM Director John Berry said. “These actions advance the promise of open government by professionalizing the FOIA workforce, and these steps will help attract and retain FOIA workers with the necessary skills for the fast and complete handling of requests.”

A second memo sent to agency human resources directors the same day said OPM is considering a new federal job classification series to provide agencies with greater flexibility to designate FOIA-specific employees.

The new occupational series would bring together FOIA, Privacy Act and records management positions to support the recruitment, selection and development of that workforce.

OPM officials indicated in the second memo that they hope to elevate the importance of information management functions at agencies and “advance the professionalization of the field.”

OPM is requesting documents describing information management work currently performed at agencies, including position descriptions, job opportunity announcements, performance plans and employment data.

About the Author

Alyah Khan is a staff writer covering IT policy.

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