NSPS transition 75 percent complete

Thursday - 10/7/2010, 10:40am EDT

John James, director, National Security Personnel System Transition Office

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By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

As of Wednesday, the Department of Defense has transitioned about 165,000 civilians out of the National Security Personnel System (NSPS) to the General Schedule (GS) system.

John James, the Director of the NSPS Transition Office modestly characterized his office's effort for Federal News Radio as "very successful."

While the deadline for completing the transition is January 1, 2012 James said the priority for his office is more focused on the people affected.

"The effort here," said James, "is primarily to ensure that no employee loses, suffers any decrease or loss of pay upon transition into the General Schedule system."

The transition represents an unprecedented effort. Moving 226,000 employees out of NSPS back to GS is mind-boggling. "That's more people than any other federal agency with the exception of the Veterans Administration," noted James.

There are approximately 25 percent of the 226,000 employees that were originally in NSPS still remaining in NSPS. Those employees will transition between now and January 1, 2012 as required by the National Defense Authorization Act.

After that, said James, his staff won't exactly be folding up the tents and going home. There's still much more for the office to do, like develop the new system. Under the National Defense Authorization Act, the transition office will get to work on "an enterprise-wide performance management system, hiring flexibilities and a workforce incentive fund."

The Federal Drive asked James to take a minute and look over his shoulder for lessons learned during the process.

James quickly replied, "With any major change, you can't over-communicate that change." James said that means talk with employees, talk with leadership, talk with labor partners. Make sure everyone understands the direction you're going in and what you think the final outcome will be.