The director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) gives update on agency’s goals and progress after first year on the job.
Kiran Ahuja has now been the director of the Federal government’s human resource agency, OPM, for more than year now. She is the first (non-acting, Senate confirmed) OPM director to stay in the position that long since 2015. Recently, she shared with the press some updates regarding OPM’s current state and outlook. In Ahuja’s first year at the agency’s helm, the main focus has been revitalizing internship programs, working to improve the federal government’s hiring process, and implementing an executive order that aims to bolster diversity, equity, and inclusion across the wide landscape of federal agencies.
On Ahuja’s to-do list, the main theme is modernization. She wants to move the still paper-based retirement claim process for FERS and CSRS to a digital-based system, but as several OPM directors have learned before, this is no easy task. OPM itself has recently upgraded to a cloud-based contact center, which is a step in the right direction. Ahuja also emphasized that, internally, the agency is now “scanning records and documents” and phasing out paper-based filing systems.
Another goal communicated by the head of OPM was working toward waiving the caps on incentives for recruitment, retention, and relocation purposes. It is unclear if that would include the current $25,000 cap on VSIPs (Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments). Ahuja would also like the agency move away from reviewing and approving every agency request to “waive existing rules” and get closer to a system of periodic oversight. The agency directors main message to feds is that they themselves and their work in public serve “are valued.”
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