Congress

Connolly balks at FEVS delays

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) 

The head of the subcommittee with oversight of the federal workforce is accusing the Office of Personnel Management of "mishandling" the government's annual employee survey.

The Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) has been subject to multiple delays because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In June, OPM announced it would delay the survey until July, and in July the survey was postponed until September.

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), the chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, wrote to acting OPM head Michael Rigas to complain about the second delay and remind OPM leadership that the annual survey is required by law.

"For a second time this year, OPM has abruptly postponed the administration of the FEVS, providing conflicting and contradictory reasoning for the need to do so," Connolly wrote in an Aug. 12 letter. "Views of federal employees should never be ignored, especially during a time of crisis, a sentiment OPM officials agreed with at their May 6 briefing with Subcommittee staff."

Connolly is seeking documents and a briefing from OPM by Aug. 24.

Typically, FEVS data, covering employee engagement and satisfaction, is collected over the course of a six-week period and made available late in the year. The survey responses form the basis for the annual Best Places To Work in the Federal Government Report produced by the Partnership for Public Service.

"Federal employees can help us understand what is working and what isn't -- information that is especially critical during the COVID-19 pandemic," Max Stier, president of the Partnership for Public Service, told FCW in an emailed statement. "The Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey is the most comprehensive way to gather needed input from public servants, and the survey should begin as soon as possible. The fact that many employees are working remotely should not curtail anyone’s ability to take the survey."

This year's questionnaire has been modified to include questions about federal employee' experience during the pandemic response, with questions relating to how employees were able to maintain continuity of operations during the public health emergency, according to a June OPM memorandum.

This article was updated Aug. 13 to include additional comment.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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