Government affairs

Legislative Updates

Senate subcommittee looks at reforming civil service

Today, the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC) Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management held a hearing titled “21st Century Ideas for a 21st Century Workforce,” focusing on several issues relating to federal employees, including maintaining and recruiting employees, dismissal, probationary periods and compensation.

The hearing examined federal workforce concerns on a national level, specifically citing concerns over recruitment and retention of “millennials” in the federal workforce—that is, those who were born after 1980. The committee highlighted that the median tenure of millennials in the federal workforce is only 3.8 years and accounts for only 16 percent of the workforce. The committee emphasized particular concern over long-term implications with nearly 30 percent of the federal workforce being eligible to retire by 2019.

“Our nation faces a serious challenge,” Ranking Member Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) said. “I want to focus today on not only what we can do to better recruit these young folks into the federal workforce, but also what we can do to retain them. It is no secret that sequestration, pay freezes, furloughs as well as the government shutdown of 2013, didn’t exactly add to the federal workforce’s appeal. We need to encourage our young people to be part of the next generation of federal workers and grow a robust, transparent and responsive network of federal programs that work hand-in-hand with communities and the private sector.”

American Federation of Government Employees President J. David Cox, a hearing witness, urged Congress to stop attacking federal workers and to end sequestration. Other witnesses included Federal Managers Association President Patricia Niehaus, National Academy of Public Administration President and CEO Dan Blair, and U.S Government Accountability Office Director of Strategic Issues Yvonne Jones.

“It is time we think critically about many of the policies that currently govern the federal workforce, so that we can maintain a talented pool of employees in the years and decades ahead,” said Subcommittee Chairman James Lankford (R-OK), who showed particular interest in examining the probation period for federal workers and termination.

Posted In: Government Affairs, - Legislative Activity

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