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Connolly Introduces Legislation Strengthening the Office of Personnel Management Act

Today, Congressman Gerald E. Connolly, Chairman of the Government Operations Subcommittee, introduced the bipartisan Strengthening the Office of Personnel Management Act.  The bill grows out of years of bipartisan efforts to rebuild the struggling Office of Personnel Management, which serves as the federal government’s central hub of human resources policy.

“We successfully stopped the previous administration from abolishing OPM, now we have a responsibility to rebuild and modernize this agency,” Chairman Connolly said.

“Federal employees are the crown jewel of government, and we must build a human resources agency nimble and prepared to help us attract and retain the talent our nation needs to provide vital services today and into the future,” Connolly added.

In the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY 2020) National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Connolly led a bipartisan effort in directing the nonpartisan National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) to study the functions of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).  NAPA’s research efforts generated recommendations to Congress, the President, and OPM to address the challenges preventing OPM from serving as an essential resource federal human capital innovation and as a stalwart of federal employee hiring flexibilities, training opportunities, and retirement processing.

The Strengthening the Office of Personnel Management Act would codify essential recommendations to Congress that emerged from NAPA’s March 2021 final report and help establish OPM as the independent federal agency that provides guidance and leadership to foster this nation’s expert civil service.

Among its provisions, the bill would:

  • Clarify OPM’s mission as the center of the federal government’s civilian Human Resources systems;
  • Require that candidates for the Director of OPM are selected without regard to political affiliation and that he or she have human capital and leadership expertise;
  • Ensure that the agency’s Chief Management Officer is a career civil servant to provide continuity and stability within the agency across presidential administrations; and
  • Create a federal advisory committee to help the Director better understand stakeholder needs, concerns, and ideas as they relate to OPM’s policymaking and operations.

The legislation is cosponsored by Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA). Text of the legislation is available here.

The Strengthening the Office of Personnel Management Act is endorsed by the National Treasury Employees Union, the National Federation of Federal Employees, the International Federal of Professional & Technical Engineers, and the National Active, the Retired Federal Employees Association, and the Partnership for Public Service.

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