OPM to RIF 300 workers from HR Solutions office

Wednesday - 1/22/2014, 2:06pm EST

The Office of Personnel Management is laying off more than 300 employees from its Human Resources Solutions office.

OPM's Joseph Kennedy, the associate director of HRS, said in an email to Federal News Radio the reduction in force will be effective as of March 28 in order to deal with budget reductions.

"HRS personnel will be reduced by over 50 percent of current staffing levels," Kennedy said in the email. "We are abolishing over 300 positions nationwide. The majority of these are intermittent, and about 25 percent are full-time positions. RIF notices will be issued on or about January 23, 2014 … ."

Kennedy said OPM needs to RIF the employees because it's ending its Nationwide Testing Program. Kennedy also said OPM is re- scoping other program areas to align with the current and future human capital needs of agencies.

The testing program provides independent and customizable testing and assessment support services to other agencies. It helps them screen and select the best candidates for the job, according to the NWT website.

"The current budget environment has reduced revenue to HRS and is the primary reason for the RIF," Kennedy wrote. "The federal government is hiring fewer people and training budgets are also being reduced. Many of our human capital management services focus on recruiting, hiring and workforce development; areas that have been hit hard by budget cuts in recent years."

To help lighten the impact of the RIF, OPM has created a résumé job bank and alerted federal chief human capital officers about the potential candidates for jobs that are eligible for non-competitive transfers.

"We are particularly interested in vacancies in occupational series 180, 2XX, 3XX, 20XX and 6907 in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, San Antonio, Washington, D.C., Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia," the notice on the CHCO Council website stated. "The pool will include some employees who are eligible for non-competitive placement, based on their current appointment or other eligibility criteria. Other employees (e.g., those on excepted or temporary appointments) may be required to compete for positions being filled in the competitive service. Employees participating in the OPM Résumé Bank are aware that they may be required to compete for positions or eligible for placement through other appointing authorities."

OPM said among the benefits of hiring these workers is they already have federal experience and completed background checks, which would shorten the timeframe to get them working at full speed.

This is the second time in the last seven months OPM has decided to reduce its workforce. In June, the agency offered buyouts or early outs to 300 employees across 14 divisions as part of a cost savings measure.

The decision to cut personnel at the HR Solutions office is one of several changes OPM Director Katherine Archuleta is making. In December, Archuleta brought in new senior leaders and moved others around, including naming Angela Bailey as OPM's new chief operating officer.

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