Take my job, please!

Monday - 6/30/2014, 2:00am EDT

Senior Correspondent Mike Causey is on vacation. This is one of a series of guest columns written by Federal Report readers.

Succession planning and the training of younger employees who will take on important roles in government agencies are essential to the successful continuation of any organization. On July 6, 2012, President Obama signed the "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act," which included a phased retirement option for federal employees. The act is intended to give federal employees an incentive to remain in the workforce as part-time employees to mentor younger colleagues while earning partial retirement benefits.

As we near the second anniversary of the act becoming law, regulations implementing phased retirement still have not been issued.

Prior to my retirement from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) 10 years ago, I worked on teams that developed regulations, policies and procedures. Two years was not out of the ordinary for regulations when several agencies were involved and a high number of public comments were received on the draft regulations.

Unfortunately, once the regulations are issued, it takes agencies varying amounts of time to put policies and procedures in place.

With more and more federal employees eligible for retirement every day, and with the Congressional Budget Office estimating that phased retirement will decrease direct spending by $427 million and increase revenues by $24 million from 2013 to 2022, it is imperative we get phased retirement implemented now. Every day it is not available wastes money, negatively impacts agency operations — and employees continue to retire. I fear many employees will not wait for implementation and will retire when eligible, leaving gaping holes in the operation of many vital programs.

So Happy Anniversary to the "Moving Ahead for Progress Act," and let's get moving on implementation!

While I am on the topic of phased retirement and the mentoring of younger colleagues, there is another, older idea that deserves consideration by all agencies. When I first started with HUD, I was in the Urban Intern Program, where I was trained in every facet of the agency's operation. When my training was complete, I was assigned to a program that best fit my skills. Even back then, there was the realization that agencies need to plan to assure they have employees with the skill sets necessary to meet their mission. Of course, we had budget levels and employee ceilings that allowed the ability to have an intern program. In these days of cut, cut, cut, we need to make sure this kind of program is a priority.
Marc Harris, president, NARFE Florida Chapter 2364


NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

In a first draft of the screenplay for the film classic, The Wizard of Oz, screenwriters gave the Wicked Witch of the West a son named Bulbo. It's unclear whether he was also of a similar hue — or who his father was.

(Source: Smithsonian magazine)


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