Lawmakers want to codify hiring reforms

Friday - 9/23/2011, 5:05pm EDT

House and Senate lawmakers are trying to codify many of the Obama administration's hiring reforms.

In the Federal Hiring Process Improvement Act of 2011, which members introduced today, main sponsors Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) and Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) would make into law several changes the Office of Personnel Management instituted over the past year, including the use of resumes and cover letters and reducing the hiring process to an average of 80 days.

"The administration has been making progress on hiring reform, but the outdated process still wastes taxpayers' money and turns away good candidates," said Akaka in a release. "By streamlining and simplifying the hiring process, this bill will help ensure that the federal government has the right people with the right skills to run the government in an effective and efficient manner."

The legislation is cosponsored by Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Reps. Jim Moran (D-Va.), Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Laura Richardson (D-Calif.).

The lawmakers say the need to reform the hiring process is becoming a bigger priority as close to 50 percent of the federal workforce will be eligible to retire in the coming decade.

The bill also would require agencies to develop a strategic workforce plan focused on hiring, recruitment, skills deficiencies and other potential reforms.

Agencies also would have to better integrate managers in all parts of the hiring process and provide them with greater flexibility to make the final decisions. Finally, the bill would require OPM to collect governmentwide data on the efficiency of the hiring process.

Many of the provisions in the bill follow the steps agencies have been taking over the past year, and President Barack Obama issued a memo in May 2010 calling for many of these changes.

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