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tv   Hearing Focuses on the Federal Workforce  CSPAN  February 23, 2017 12:53pm-2:46pm EST

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at cpac at 1010:00 eastern. also live on c span. where history unfolds daily. in 1979 c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. officials with the group that represents federal employees testified at a senate government affairs subcommittee regarding ways to improve the federal w k workforce. they talked about the hiring process and impact of the trump administration's federal hiring freeze.
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federal agencies employ some of the best and brightest individuals this country has to offer. every day federal civil servants provide essentially care for veterans, keep airports running safely and smoothly. we are grateful for their diligence and are interested in their ideas and concerns. the important work of our
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federal employees is obstructed by a culture that rewards attendance over initiative, one that does not differentiate between poor performers and those who excel. in fact, it is the high performing often complain that under performing count parts harm work place moral and raise concerns that compensation is not appropriately related to performance. for instance, the office of personnel management 2016 federal employee viewpoint survey found that a mere 22% of employees agreed with this statement. pay raises depend on how well employees perform their jobs. while the government fails to appropriately compensate employees based on performance managers and agency executive face additional challenges. federal managers are frustrated by complicated and time consuming hiring process, something this committee has talked about often. in 2016 it took an average of 100 days to fill an open position in the federal government. in 2015 it took 90 days. the problem is getting worse. many highly qualified applicants cannot wait over three months to
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start work. managers need employees to start work properly to achieve the agency's mission and managers need to hire appropriately to make sure that we are hiring the right people in the right spot. whenever there is an ongoing structural problem within the system it is our responsibility and duty to address it. civil service structure as we know it today was created in the 1950s as a result of the hoover commission. the last time congress accomplished significant reform was civil service reform act of 1978. no successful business operates an employment model for the 1950s. no effective work place runs on a system last updated in the 1970s. through authorities granted by congress, the president can implement government wide policies to improve the functioning of the entire federal work force. the president issued a memorandum for heads of executive departments and agencies establishing a hiring freeze until incoming director and office of management and
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budget recommends a long term plan to reduce the size of the federal government's work force. president trump's hiring freeze is a similar memoranda issued by past presidents. in 1977 president carter and 1981 president reagan issued broad hiring freezes. as the chief executive of the federal government president trump is responding to widespread frustration voiced by the american people with their government but not necessarily with individual employees. attrition through hiring freeze may not be the optimal solution for creating efficient federal work force. absence of notable reforms to improve the federal work force, the administration has every right to alter the status quo. through an executive action. congress can either watch as the administration deals with the federal work force through executive actions or find consensus and work with the administration, take up the mantle of legislative reform.
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to do this this subcommittee plans to have a series of hearings to discuss a broad number of topics. including hiring, training, compensation, performance management, discipline and separation and we'll invite a wide variety of view points. today's hearing we start with perspective of federal managers as we look to tackle some of these challenges. it is important to hear from managers and senior executives who confront had issues. as experienced managers and executives our witnesses will by able to provide unique perspectives on the difficulties they face when civil service as managers. and shine light on bipartisan improvements. we may still see some of the same challenges. i hope my colleagues will join me in this pursuit and i am confident they will. this is a nonpartisan issue. i am interested to work with every stakeholder to ensure congress develops comprehensive reforms to set the federal work force and to continue to protect great employees in our federal work force and to make sure they
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continue to have good due process. i look forward to discussing with all of our witnesses today and i am grateful. i will introduce all of them in just a moment after ranking member has her opening remarks. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thanks to my colleagues. not always the sexiest of topics, public employment but absolutely critical if we are going to do the best that we can for the people of this country. i think while it's inevitable we will discuss today the challenges of the hiring process i think it is important to highlight that we are having this discussion against a back drop of the current hiring freeze in the federal government. while the public sector cannot do its job -- when the public sector in north dakota cannot do its job the private sector has a more difficult time doing its job. for making sure the food we eat is safe to answering tax law and ensure veterans are cared for to protecting nation from harm federal employees in my state
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work every day to make my state and the country better. when we fail to fill needed vacancies unnecessarily the only people we are hurting are ourselves. i want to tell a quick story. during the huge boom of oil development in north dakota we had a very difficult time recruiting federal workers, engineers into the agencies that help provide permitting. it was so bad, in fact, that the industry offered up resources to hire and to expand the pay of the current federal employees. i think it was eye opening for many of us who for years might say that the federal employees are a drag on the economy to realize that the oil industry in my state could not function without a fully staffed federal blm. so across the board cuts and the shrinking of the overall federal work force are not the answer to making the federal government more efficient or more effective. these cuts will also come at the
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expense of talent, moral and the mission of our work force. none of which we can afford to lose. managers play a vital role in the culture of an agency and are responsible for giving employees the tools they need to succeed and thrive in the work place. while today's hearing is not focussed on the hiring freeze, it's important to keep in mind how a freeze directly and indirectly impacts the ability of managers and employees to do their job effectively and keep moral high. i'm looking forward to examining how we can help managers use the tools that are available to them to more efficiently as well as to make them more efficient as well as how we can improve supervisor training. i will be doing all that i can to protect federal workers. i think it is important that we are in continued communication with the administration regarding how they plan to implement initiatives going forward.
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we have been at this table before, the two of us, talking about the aging of the federal work force, talking about recruiting the best and brightest americans to a job and a career in public service. we have been here talking about what tools we need. these are all great challenges in moving our country forward and making our government responsive to the needs of the people. we can't take a step backward. so mr. chairman, i am grateful for our attention in this congress to the federal work force. i hope that we will be able to see innovations that will lead to better outcomes for public employees, for public managers and as a result better outcomes for the people of our country. thank you. >> thank you. >> at this time we will proceed with testimony from our witnesses. renee johnson is national president for federal management association, an organization she served in various capacities
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since 2009. she currently is u.s. navy customer engagement branch head in cherry point, north carolina. bill valdez is president of the senior executive association, a former co-chair of the national science and technology council of science policy interagency working group from 2005 to 2014. he retired from federal service as career senior executive in 2014 after 20 years of service in the department of energy. robert coursy is former deputy chief of staff for manpower. personal and services for the u.s. air force. prior to 18 years of civilian service he served 28 years on active duty. he retired from federal service in october of 2016. david cox is the veteran in the group, he has been here before. we appreciate you coming back again. he worked for the department of veterans affairs from 1983 to 2006 when he became the secretary treasurer.
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all four of you, we appreciate very much for you being here. we appreciate all of your written testimony that you have already submitted. it is very thorough and excellent. that will go into the permanent record. it is custom to swear in all witnesses before they testify. please raise your right hand. do you swear the testimony you are about to give before this subcommittee will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. let the record reflect the witnesses all answered in the affirmative. we use a timing clock which will be a five minute count down for your testimony time. turn your microphone on. we will be glad to be able to receive your testimony. thank you. i appreciate you allowing me to present the views of the federal managers association before you today. i am currently employed at fleet readiness center east as customer engagement branch head.
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i am here today on my own time representing my active and retired members and do not speak on behalf of the navy. the mission is to advocate excellence in public service so we are honored to appear today to discuss ways to empower managers as we seek a more efficient and effective federal government. in my written testimony i addressed a number of issues related to recruitment, hiring, performance management, termination and other topics. as fma's national president i hear how proud our members are to serve our nation. i am pleased to note there are chapters in army ammunition plant in oklahoma providing resources for national security. we also have members insuring americans receive their social security checks, collecting taxes to fund public safety measures and protecting the nation's food supply, to name just a few of the critical
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functions provided by federal employees. to begin fma members often describe the current hiring process as too cumbersome. the most recent defense authorization bills lends support for direct hire authority and fma sees this as a potential avenue to allow managers to expedite the hiring process. also seeks to allow for salary adjustments to compete for new wage grade hires. the federal government makes significant investments in these employees and often they leave for private sector before they even finish a year of service. managers should have options to adjust hiring packages to reflect the unique circumstances in their areas. while fma is opposed to the current hiring freeze instituted by the new administration we are more concerned with the potential proposals for hiring in the long term specifically blind attrition policies. all federal agencies should allow to match hiring actions
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that align with there mandated funding. it supports a system that provides incentives. departments and agencies must have maximum flexibility as we compete with the private sector to attract the best and brightest work force to answer the call of public service. managers must be able to address both misconduct and poor performance. currently many managers feel it is easier to keep poor performer and deal with their subpar performance rather than take steps to document and convince the agency of removal. all employees including managers should be held accountable for executing duties and responsibilities. at the same time fma opposes efforts to reduce or eliminate due process for federal employees. first level supervisors and
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managers need access to adequately funded training programs. investments must be made to assist managers to recognize problems early and deal with them at the lowest possible level. fma calls for introduction of legislation that requires agencies to provide supervisors with interactive training on management topics ranging from mentorship, career development and conducting accurate performance appraisals to to hostile work environments and poor performers. training should take place within one year of promotion with ongoing training every three years thereafter. initial and supervisory probationary periods are intended to be an extension of the hiring process. it is a time to evaluate the employee or manager.
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and determine whether they are suited not just for their current position but for several service in general. some career fields are so complex that it takes more than one year to properly train an entry level employee. in the 2015 defense authorization bill congress extended the probationary period for all employees at the department of defense to two years. extending the probation period at other federal agencies would benefit the government and employees by allowing supervisors to make decisions based on the employee's performance as fully trained employee not just guess how the employee will perform. after the training is complete. i commend subcommittee for holding the hearing early to discuss how to best equip those of us charged with managing the federal workforce and ensure we are equipped to meet the agency's goals. thank you for affording the federal managers association the opportunity to discuss our organization's views. i am eager to answer any questions you may have. thank you for the opportunity to testify before the subcommittee today.
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the senior executives association and members are eager to work with you and the new administration to develop common sense solutions to the challenges that we know confront the civil service. the 7,200 career senior executives play a vital role in implementing positive change in the government utilizing depth of experience and knowledge will be critical as we develop the common sense solutions we all know are required. my written testimony discusses many of those possible solutions. i am ready to provide more information or answer any questions you might have. i would like to focus my remarks on several broad issues that help inform that discussion namely the answer to three questions. first, are federal leaders currently empowered to manage the workforce? what are constraints on empowerment? what are the most impactful solutions we should pursue? the answer to the first question is no. there are two root causes for
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this lack of empowerment. first, the complexity of workforce management processes and rules makes it extremely difficult for federal leaders to be sufficiently empowered navigating the maze of hr rules and regulations while focussing on the primary objective of a federal leader, fulfilling the agency mission is a difficult task. second, federal leaders lack the tools they require to effectively manage their workforce when achieving 21st century missions. corporate america recognizes it needs to know the composition of the workforce, the best places to hire talent and how to use risks reward frameworks to incentivize their work forces. in the federal government the tools that would enable federal leaders to do the same are not available. this leads to the discussion on constraints on empowerment. i would put them into three baskets. the first basket is the complexity of federal workforce management.
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anyone including federal leaders would be overwhelmed by rules and regulations that are often seemingly contradictory. this is most apparent in the hiring process which forces a leader to make compromises that can result in the best qualified candidates not being chosen. the second basket is the many routes of appeal or form shopping for employees contesting a particular action. threat of ig complaint can stop a leader cold when dealing with poor performance. accountability is difficult to impose on a workforce with so many avenues of appeal at their disposal. my experience is that forum shopping occurs whether talking about gs 2 or ses. the third basket is absence of functioning risk/reward framework. leaders should encourage taking risks and then should reward those employees appropriately. risk is devalued and rewards are
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tied to tenure and general performance. this discourages innovation and rewards average performance. my top three recommendations are tied to these constraints. first, please help us by reducing complexity of workforce rules and regulations particularly on hiring. we make several recommendations in my written testimony. second, let's figure out a way to simplify employee appeals of adverse action. we are fully supportive of union grievance processes and believe they have their appropriate place in the federal workforce framework. but a separate process for the resolution of personnel performance issues must be develod. finally, we desperately need a new risk reward framework particularly tied to annual performance reviews. federal leaders want to reward high performers and and distinguish from routine by an employee.
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not everyone deserves to be promoted or get a bonus. it should be earned and recognized. i would like to conclude by thanking the subcommittee for holding today's hearing. the senior executives association and our members are deeply grateful for your thought leadership on this issue and we look forward to working with you to restore the notion of civil service regarded as world class and worthy of public trust given to it. every day as you noted millions of federal employees are doing amazing things, managing public lands, defending the homeland, protecting the environment and helping build an innovation economy. you should take great satisfaction in knowing that the work this subcommittee is doing will help all federal employees and leaders accomplish their vital missions more effectively and efficiently. thank you chairman langford,
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ranking member and members of the subcommittee for the opportunity to share my experiences of over 46 years in the air force in both my military capacity and as member of senior executive service to assist the committee in finding ways to improve management of the federal workforce. in both my roles i had the honor of working with some of the most professional, dedicated and incredibly humble career civilians. whatever reforms you are contemplating need to recognize the importance of career civilian workforce in providing necessary continuity during periods of high leadership turnover and that we hold them in high regard. i will be first to say the civilian system needs major rework. the system has evolved but fundamentally has not changed since inception.
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what has changed is a very dynamic budget environment, a workforce that is held in disregard and pressures to reduce workforce. without knowing the true work requirements. managers are consumed on a daily basis with budget uncertainty dealing with a 90-year-old pay system that rewards longevity, archaic hiring practices that don't allow agencies to compete on a level playing field with the private sector, the lack of ability to develop and shape their workforces and grievance and complaint processes that drag on for years. on any given day we have approximately 2.1 million federal employees on board excluding postal which equates to approximately $210 billion per year using an average of about $100,000 per person. for the most part there has never been an analytic foundation to support the level of federal employees. to its credit the d.o.d. has a requirements driven process with manpower professionals to determine both its military and
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civilian levels. most federal agencies do not have that same rigor and are ill-prepared to defend manpower levels. most agency heads are blind to true manpower requirements and most have no centralized accounting for manpower and skill levels at every level in their organizations. fiscal pressures demand that agencies need to justify the size of their workforce. this will require congress to insist that workforce levels are requirements based, that agency heads can defend the manpower levels and that documents support those levels. but congress must also help with timely budgets and consider giving agencies a planning target for personnel levels for an additional two years to allow them to make more informed decisions. for over 90 years we have had the general schedule pay system.
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locality pay, special pay authorities, expanding the workforces under non pay demonstration projects and longevity all make a compelling case to eliminate the general schedule pay system. the time is now to export the lessons learned from pay demonstration projects and to move forward with the pay for performance system. there are significant challenges with managing the federal workforce. there is no requirements for agencies to have human capital strategic plans with the proper analytics to guide. current and future for shapen. managers are mired in a hiring process that significantly limits their ability to compete with the private sector and there are limited tools and hiring authority for agency heads to attract and retain the best talent. congress can help by directing opm to ensure that all agencies
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have viable human capital strategic plans. give agency heads all decision authorities to use direct hires to meet their critical skill needs. ensure that all agencies have the authority to shape their workforces without opm approval. and require every agency to have a formal civilian training and development program. congress can also help by providing dedicated and importantly training moneys in the agency budgets. any changes that will give agency heads more authority to manage their workforce and empower them with the proper tools will pay great dividends in giving managers more time to be managers. i offer my service to do whatever i can to help the committee bring real positive change to the federal workforce. our country and our federal employees deserve no less. i look forward to your questions. >> mr. cox. mr. chairman, ranking member
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and members of the subcommittee thank you for the opportunity to testify today. one of the most useful ways to frame policy questions that aim to address real or perceived problems is to ask what is needed, new laws or more effective enforcement of existing laws? on a question of whether current laws give federal managers adequate authority to manage the federal workforce or whether the new laws are needed to expand their authority the answer is clear, no new laws are needed. america has the very best civil service in the world. this is something we should all be proud of and should celebrate. virtually all studies of federal employee performance find that the vast majority perform well. it is just a small percentage, probably less than one percent, that are problem employees.
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yet the focus is so frequently on that minority rather than on the 99 plus percent who are doing a great job every day caring for the american people. since the late 19th century our federal civil service has been a professional apolitical civil service. today we call it merit based system and it is no overstatement to say it is a cornerstone of our democracy. it ensures that technical expertise is what matters in obtaining and keeping a federal job, not allegiance to any political party or person. all of us benefit from a professional civil service. veterans at the medical center need to be sure their doctors and nurses are highly qualified for their jobs. mechanics at air force base need to know avionics, not politics. the american public deserves worder patrol agents and social
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security claim reps and researchers hired because of their skills not their connections. while agency career employees remain accountable to politically appointed officials our merit based system makes sure that actions against career employees for misconduct or poor performance require evidence to back up allegations and due process including third party review by neutral decision makers. when an employee receives notice of an adverse action be it suspension, demotion or termination the body that hears any appeal, called the merit protection board, that is a body focussed on the protection of merit system, not the employee and it is not only fast and efficient, it upholds agency management decisions in 80% to 90% of the cases. there is a popular perception that is too hard to fire a federal employee.
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gao's careful study points out that these are cases of management failure. when managements are either unwilling or otherwise fail to use the already substantial tools available to them the answer is not to weaken the merit system by reducing the process. the answer is to train and support and discipline managers so that they do their part to uphold and protect the merit system. please let's not throw out the baby with the bath water just to indulge federal managers who won't or can't do their jobs. history is full of examples of public service corrupted by politically based employment decisions. that is the reason we urge you to reject calls to weaken the merit-based civil service. federal hiring and firing must remain merit-based and subject to third party review. performance management
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improvements such as the new beginnings approach recently undertaken in d.o.d. are always welcomed and we look forward to working with lawmakers and agency managers to make this new program a success. we also support better training of both supervisors and employees so that clear expectations are established, performance metrics are clear, appropriate steps are taken to either fix performance problems or remove the small number of poor performers in the workforce. this concludes my statement and i look forward to answering and talking with any questions of the committee. >> we have a tradition that we defer our questions to the end. with that, based on the order, i'd recognize senator carper for questions. >> senator harris was here first. she got here before the gavel but at the gavel you were the senior member that was here. okay to step up?
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you got it. harry truman used to say the only thing new in the world is the history we forgot or never learned. the names remain as firmly in my mind as my colleagues know i call my former colleagues on their birthday. i just talked to dan last month. i wish i could have called george voinovich, but as you recall, he passed away last year. they spent enormous amount of time in this room in the last decade dealing with many of the same issues. we thank you for being here today. we thank you for your testimony. we thank you for your service. i want those of you who made the call the efforts of the senators and their staff over several
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years talked to us about what they focus on. what was accomplished and maybe where they fell short and what we need to do today as a result. mr. cox, you are pretty young so you may not remember these guys. just in case, why don't we start with you. >> things that certainly i believe we need to do is -- >> what i'm looking for is what was accomplished under their leadership? where did they fall short and that we need to take action. >> i saw great concern from both of those leaders to have federal employee managers particularly trained. where do i believe we fell short? i think some of my colleagues would agree with me, particularly my brother right here, that agencies don't fence off money for manager training. we have had short budgets so therefore training takes a back seat over and over.
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i have found in my career the best technician becomes the manager but then that doesn't necessarily give them management skills. the agency needs to spend time helping that person to become a manager, giving them training, mentoring them so that they can encourage develop employees, manage good performers and recognize the good performers and also take appropriate proper actions on poor performers. i want to say it very openly from afge, we do not want bad employees working for the federal government. >> you can hold it right there. that is a good place to hold it. thank you for those words. >> sir, we had -- >> you don't have to agree with him. >> we had raving fans back years ago for the federal workforce
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and the emphasis was on developing the federal workforce. >> my question, i want you to walk us back to what they worked out. they were very proud of what was accomplished. you have been in a leadership position for some time. i'm sure you remember them, what they accomplished and what did they not accomplish. we need to focus on today. >> i apologize. i can't get into those specifics. >> thank you. >> in general i think the focus on pay for performance and making the federal agencies make federal employees more accountable was an admirable move on the parts of the two senators. i don't think that they were fully successful and that the work of this subcommittee could be focussed on those two areas with a high degree of success. >> thank you.
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>> supporting the agencies demanding the resources that they need i think is very important, something that needs to be supported with the budget requirements that are submitted from the agencies and should be supported by congress whenever the budget is approved. without having those resources in the agencies it makes it very difficult for us to meet the mission demands of the agencies. >> a long time ago a cartoon strip called pogo that some of you will recall where he was quoted as saying we have met the enemy and it is us. i think we are by virtue of not providing predictability and certainty with respect to budgets are relying on continuing resolutions which is expensive and wasteful. we will be reminded next week when they put out their high risk list.
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to talk to us very briefly about -- i will just say if you agree that that is a problem say yes. thank you. thanks so much. >> senator harris. >> so it is my understanding that in the last couple of weeks about 1,000 state department employees signed on to the descent channel to basically show disagreement with the ban. executive order. following that white house press secretary sean spicer said those who disagree with the administration policy should, quote, get with the program or they should go. can each of you tell me your perspective on that statement and in particular what are the rights and the responsibilities of federal employees to be able
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to freely descent and point out whatever they believe is not in the best interest of the agency they work in or in the best interest of our country? and what are the protections available to them? i will start with you, ms. johnson. >> i feel like as a federal employee we are there to support the mission of the agency and the intent of the duties that have been presented to us. whenever we are presented with restrictions that make it difficult i do feel like that we should be allowed to express those concerns. but it is also important that we still try to accomplish the mission with those restrictions,
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as well. we cannot stop the mission because of the restrictions. we have to be able to overcome those and try to find ways of working around them. >> do you agree with the importance of having the channel and that ability for those employees of the state department using the example that i have offered to be able to express their opinions? >> yes, ma'am. >> thank you. >> first i wish every agency had a dissent channel. in my experience different agencies would set up employee suggestion boxes and those were used in the same manner to provide dissent or comments on existing administration actions. just as going in position i think we should all understand that all federal employees swear an oath to uphold the constitution and that they exercise those powers under the direction of the president of the united states.
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and if an employee feels, if a civil servant believes what he or she is being asked to do is unconstitutional, unethical, criminal or against existing regulations, then, yes, they have an obligation to speak up within authorized channels within the agency to express those views. you can do that through the ig, through whistle blower process. but it is not within the prerogative of federal employees to not execute an order from the president that is constitutional, that is within regulations and that is perceived by the administration to go to further the mission of the agency. >> but you agree that they should be able to express their
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dissent without fear of being fired? >> within existing agency infrastructure and mechanisms. >> are you aware of any federal agency that prohibits an employee from expressing their dissent? and if they do on pain of being fired? >> no. >> so i don't know how to say it any better than mr. valdez. state department has a unique system in terms of being able to have to dissent network to get to the senior leaders in state department. above all day in and day out the federal employee is supposed to concentrate day in on what their job is. we are supposed to not be political in anything that we do. and with anything that would detract from that focus i would say is not productive. again, there are mechanisms in place to express concern with policies and procedures and members know how to use those processes.
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>> i believe all of our contracts that afg has with any agency says employees have the first amendment rights to voice their concerns and raise those issues and certainly there are whistle blower protections. afg always tells membership they are being asked to do something unless it is illegal to obey and grieve, go through that mechanism. i would never encourage an employee to be insubordinate, but as federal employees we have first amendment rights to agree or disagree and to be an apolitical workforce in that nature. >> thank you.
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thank you, mr. chair and ranking member and good morning to our panel and thank you all very much for your testimony and for your work and for the employees you represent and speak for. i wanted to start to talk about budget and predictability a little bit. in your testimony you talk about budget predictability and its importance for management in government employment as an issue more broadly. i recently joined in introducing a bipartisan bill that allows for biannual at the budget level. which is one of the things we do in my home state of new hampshire. i would love your thoughts about whether this would provide the kind of predictability you are looking for as well as from a management and personnel angle what challenges would biannual budgeting pose for you? >> we tried biannual budget several years ago. what i remember is the congress was not willing to work that second year which would have been wonderful because of the amount of time that is consumed
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in putting a budget together. you don't have a 2 million person workforce and you don't get your budget until six months into the fiscal year and then you are working on finalizing that next year's budget and you don't even have a budget for the current year. anything we can do to put more predictability in the budget process, to give managers flexibility and at least look into that next year. in my testimony i recommended two years out and at least a planning level for the workforce so they can make decisions in the current year based on a known level in those other years. a very good example is an agency that works to be very efficient and they save manpower resources. only for that, then, to draw the next line for reductions.
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you can't have an incentivized managers to look for efficiencies unless they have some predictability that they are going to have that workforce level in the future. >> and my thinking, too, has been that if you spend, if you do the biannual budget then you can use the second year to measure and assess and work with agencies in planning the next budget as opposed to constantly being in this cycle. i also had another question for you just -- you recommended opm should require to conduct surveys which strikes me as a good idea. i'm just curious about what's happening now? >> i would get in the air force. that's my take. >> right. >> we recognize the importance, because a lot of organizations do exit surveys. it's also very important to survey folks as to why are you staying with us.
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so we initiated that two years ago. what you find is that one of the major reasons why people are leaving you is leadership. also one of the major reasons people are staying with you is leadership. it gets to the point of training our managers, making sure they are competent, make sure they have mentoring programs that are targeting folks that they are the talent we want to keep. we've done that in the air force. >> thank you. i have about a minute and a half left. maybe i'll just a general question for the four of you if you comment briefly. we've obviously moved into an agent where data and technology is important. we're good cyber security hygiene on behalf of all of our employees is really important.
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in whatever way strikes you as best, can you just comment on that particular challenge and if you have any ideas about how we should be recruiting and improving our data -- recruiting people who are good at and improving our data literacy and cyber security. >> i think clearly you're going to have to be out at the best schools and universities offering competitive salaries, encouraging these folks to come and also appropriating the money for the latest technology, opms, computer system was -- is almost as outdated as a scwinn bicycle has become in this country. i think those are the issues. >> senator, i'd go beyond just the cyber side. we've got so many technical specialties in the laboratory, the engineering side of the house. you've got to give hiring managers direct hiring authority.
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they need to have the wear with all to wake make on the spot job commitments to individuals out there in order to be able to compete with it. cyber is kind of the focus right now. it goes well beyond cyber. it's just given managers direct hiring authority for the skills that they determine that they need. >> thank you. >> i'd agree completely with all of that. would just note that the chairman pointed out it takes 100 days to bring somebody on new. that's the average. when you get into these highly technical fields, you find that it probably exceeds that average because of the difficulty of bringing them on. so we just need to have a top to bottom review of how agencies are allowed to hire people and provide them with the mechanisms that are enable them to bring on the best and brightest. >> thank you. ms. johnson. >> certainly agree with mr. cox when he was speaking about the systems that we use within the federal government. i think updated systems for employees to work with will --
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would make it much easier to bring new employees on, using systems that they've been trained on in the private sector as well as in school. would benefit the government as a whole. >> thank you. i am sorry for going over my time. >> you're fine. we will do a second round of questioning and our second round will be open without a clock. so if there's interaction that we need to be able to have, you're welcome to be able to stay on that. based on time requirements, i wonder if you'll make a quick statement. >> i want to commend you for doing this. we're picking up the legacy from the senators who worked on this which is hugely important. ted kaufman was a senator for two years as some of you may recall.
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i took that idea in congress with department of homeland security. had the worst moral of any agency in the federal government. with the help of the committee a terrific leadership team. top ranks were basically like cheddar cheese. top senior ranks were swiss cheese, so many vacancies. there. we appreciate the work that they were doing on a selective and individual basis. i would like to mention that. i told this story before to my colleagues, but not to you. i listen to npr coming in, and a couple of years ago they were reporting about what is it that people like about their work.
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it was international survey. some folks like the folks they work with. they like the environment. most liked by the work they knew what they were doing and it was important and they were working progress. what can we do to make sure that the federal employees are empowered to make that kind of progress. thank you for your leadership. >> quick comment. i'm going to defer to senator heitkamp. we have got to get a more predictable process by getting us there. majority yet, we are working to be able to get to that majority. senator portman and i have
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worked together with the shutdown prevention act. it gets us to the point that we have the clips and threats of shout down but it pushes congress to get the budget done. it does not help us to have unpredictable budgeting and budgeting cliffs. senator heitkamp. >> thank you, i could not agree more. most who come from state entity where you buy annual budgeting where you buy -- i have want to start out with you mr. valdez, as you heard, i'm concerned about the hiring freeze and the morality -- probably some of that, too, but the moral and the disruption that that uncertainty
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creates within a working force. and i know that in your testimony you have said you believe that the hiring freeze will have a chilling affect on the ability of the federal government to attract and recruit the talent it needs. as you can see from my opening statements, we had a situation where people saw what happens when you don't have people in federal position. so i want to ask you how does the freeze and the negative publicity surrounding that to meet submission here and in our state and what message does hiring freeze send to the employees about the value of their work? >> you have raised a number of issues. in terms of the chilling effect, people like certainty in their employment and that's what we're referring to is that if you can't -- if you think that the federal government is not a
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place where you can find reasonable employment and have a secure job, then that does have a chilling affect particularly individuals coming into federal government. >> the vacancy we have will be highly sought after. so you have three people now someone leaves and those two know they there is no way to fill the gap, they get frustrated, now they are bearing the brunt and they can find employment some place else. it's a meets act to something we should be looking at strategically and i have a concern about what that means for highly sought after employees. and basically people seeing public service as a career. mrs. johnson, in addition to the impact of the hiring freeze, i'm concerned about the long-term
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plan that was eluted to the in executive order. you said that fma opposing any blind arbitrary plan to cut workforce. what do you think are dangerous working federal workforce and what's long-term impact of that pronouncement? >> i look at the arbitrary cuts across the federal government as being detrimental to the -- agencies. as any company there are areas that we can cut the budget and the personnel within those agencies. to do a blanket across the board cut of all federal agencies i think is going to be detrimental to them being able to move forward with the mission that
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they have been provided and putting people in those positions that have to take on the duties of others as their counter parts leave, that puts additional pressure on them and impacts the moral of the agency. >> isn't it likely that those people who can leave when they do and it is hard to fill that position is going to have a cascading effect? >> absolutely. >> probably in those areas whether it is cyber where there is a whole lot of competition in the private sector for that kind of talent and skill set. even if i can say it takes 20 people in house keeping to make up the beds and you only have ten you won't stay in business very long as a hotel if you can't hire to replace the people making up the beds and cleaning the rooms. maybe that is a context that can be appreciated in a different category.
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i have to just back out just for a little bit here. i will be back and will defer the rest of my time to the chairman. i will be returning. >> that would leave me completely unsupervised in the hearing here as well. >> there's cameras here. >> always accountability. let me run through several things. there are several issues that have come up. i want to thank all four of you. as we're trying to work through things, mr. cox, as you mentioned before, it may be a training issue. the task of this committee is not just forming legislation. the it's oversight for exciting authorities.
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i want to walk through a couple of things. i mentioned in my opening statements the 100 days on average it takes for hiring process. it was 90 days last year. it's now 100. this problem is accelerating. when it needs to get better. we have had harks on u.s. job and prospects of doing the application, the security. let me ask for the managers, mr. cox you can jump in on this, there are 105 hiring authorities that exist. 105 of them. 90% are done with 20 of hiring authorities. but there are 105. my question is not rhetorical there are 105 hiring authorities what's being missed at this point? what is slowing down the process? the hiring important part of it you don't have many issues with firing with oversight if you have good hiring that involve managers working with hr to make sure everyone knows what your looking forgetting that in pl g
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place , getting that in place so when we go through process we have that in the beginning. what am i missing, where can they be fixed? >> mr. corsi. >> a little history, air force personnel center this leadership to put the higher process on the table. they peeled back every process associated with it. the 80 days a a misnomer because the clock stops when the highing -- hiring on the system. months in advance in terms of the skills they need. the real test is how long does
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manager needs replacement when they. >> take a guess, how long is that? >> 150 plus. as part of that -- i don't know how many individual process that it took about a year to peel that back. now we're in the process starting implementing those air force wise, a lot of onus is on the management. they have population that they are going to leaving the workforce.
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that up front fees is important the part of the management side of the house. >> how do we fix that because that's one of the key issues to get managers to predict what they need. if you make a open, they need to be a nice person, they need to be well dressed and professional. you have to huge pull and you may not get qualified person. manager needs to be specific in what they need. am i correct or not correct. >> senator, you are correct. >> how do you get them to understand predicting advantage what they need when we get to the end of it we get better output. >> you have to require organization have a strategic plan which forces them to look at the current workforce what's coming down the pike and require them to use analytics to be really smart on the front end so they can get the right talent. >> is there an agency that's doing it well that we can look
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at? >> i would say, look at recommendations that came out of what the air force and air force material command were able to do during that period of time. we know opm went in and took a look at what air forces are doing. there was a great info. leadership was involved. they had a brief myself. the sustainment center command, on a regular basis as to the progress of what they are doing. now we're in the process of rolling it out. so don't lock into that 80 day. i'm looking at the time from when we put a demand on the system to what we need, and in past hearings you heard about the time it takes for suitability checks. as part of the including process as coming out of that review, at tinker air force base, they used to bring an individual to
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in-process. they would work on filling out security paper and going home. they would work on the medical, then go home. they do that in one process once they get the individual on board. we are trying to encourage the command to take a risk. bring the individual on board before the suitability place out. then you have caveat, if it's not successful then you won't have employment. take that short risk. that's part of it. it's managers, opm, all of it has to work together. >> i would agree what's happening at tinker air force base in relationship with management, cooperation with the air force, everyone is trying to be able to make this work. however, we have a tremendous number of people coming on board that is the lead sustainment facility for the air force. and they are trying to be able to set the example for it. so, that is a great example. i'm pleased you are able to say, look at tinker air force base.
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we can continue to work with tinker to help pull those ideas out of what is happening there in their hiring process. but at the end of the day, as i've chatted with several folks around my state, when you have somebody that's warehoused or forklift for instance, i hear this all the time from the army ammunition depot there, they are trying to hire on a forklift operator. that same person applies at five other places in mcallister and at the army depot. four months later they get a call back from the ammunition depot and they have been employed by someone else three and a half months that point. they are too slow in that process and we are missing out on great employees just based on the slow process. >> if we open up the window or the authorities for the hiring official to have more direct
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hiring authority, even a forklift operator could be very critical for other things to happen at that installation, so why don't we give hiring manager direct authority when they determine that skill is critical. and you can bypass some of those processes to do on the spot job offers. >> when you are moving munitions, those forklift operate eers are essential. >> let move to senator portman. >> thank you. i wanted to come to the hearing to support what senator lankford is doing which is looking at the tough issues of management within federal government. we don't do that enough up here, in my view, in terms of oversight. so i thank him for that. we have a great panel here. my question is may have been
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asked earlier. i apologize if i'm talking about issues that have already been addressed. our difficulty of competing with private sector. we don't have the speed of hiring the real world to be, therefore people take other opportunities. we cannot provided them that opportunity quickly enough. comments on that would be helpful. second is on separation, when someone isn't performing how do you get that person out of the way of those who are performing. and i think this is a real problem in terms of morale. i certainly found out when i was at omb, as you know, some specific statutes tried to deal with this including on the defense side and actually including on the irs side. any thoughts you have on that when someone is not performing,
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gone through the proper procedures, how do you ensure that person is given the opportunity to leave so others can take the position and feel if they are performing well their performance is being valued. the third is the broad value of performance measures. you remember the scores, without controversy, which is an attempt to measure performance of agencies and personnel. part of it was to look at how people are motivated and powered and whether that was working. we have a new administration. we have opportunity to look at better management and better agencies. what do you think of that. start with issue of hiring. maybe that's something that's been discussed. i think your idea, mr. corsi, you have given authority on the line you can cut back the layers.
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any quick thoughts on that? >> i would like to speak on that about the budgeting. that's something we have that budget in place. we talked about possibility of two-year budget plan that allows the agencies to know what they are going to be funded for. at cherry point we get workload from other dod agencies when they do not know what funding is going to be it's difficult for them to give us a forecast. our staff is trade-driven and position when we are not funded or do not know what the funding is going to be up front, it takes -- we can't bring someone in off the street and put them into the sheet metal work and say go forward and make an aircraft. so we need someone that can be in there and can be trained so we have the adequate staffing
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for those positions. so i think having the budget in place early instead of waiting until half of the year is gone by and we're trying to bring additional funding in and the support in now the customer have been able to fund, it's difficult to accommodate that workload. >> ms. johnson, think about this, you are competing with the private sector and they have the ups and downs. they have a decision and may not be in the black the whole year because of that and they may have to make adjustments, but typically that's after the fact. in the meantime, they know what the budget is going to be for the year. so having a couple of years in the those companies much longer
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period of time to train people, get them up, would be a disadvantage. >> that would help us with the succession planning and knowing which positions are critical and we're able to hire people or have people in the positions for potential retirees because of our aging work force. and with our limited budget and not being able to bring in new employees to have them trained up often times restricts our ability to be able to seamlessly move forward when we lose -- >> how about the separation issue? you want to talk about that quickly? >> i would be happy to. in my testimony i talked about forum shopping. i think that is probably the most effective way we can deal with this issue.
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which is having a single avenue of appeal for performance issues. currently, there are multiple avenues of appeal or they can drag out separations by appealing to union grievances or eeo processes or ig complaints and so i think we can speed up the system that way. i don't think anybody at the table feels that we should keep bad performers on and we're all interested in expediting the removal of employees who should be we moved for performance. be removed.
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i would like to return to the hiring issue. i think part of what we're talking about here is a systemic issue in the federal government. no corporation in the world would have a human resources office that does not serve as the principal adviser to its operating units on issues like hiring, and separation and i think what's happened with opm is that they delegated much of the authorities that they have to the agencies on transactional issues. how you hire, et cetera. and but there wasn't a concurrent upgrading of opm to serve as that corporate adviser for the federal government. let me give you an example. i was heading up an hr shop and my senior management directed me to come up with a workforce plan to do what bob was talking about in terms of figuring out what
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the retirements rates were et cetera. i so i went to opm and said can you help me out because i'm not an expert in this area. and it turned out opm was not an expert. if you think about it, they should be and they should be providing to agencies advice about how to manage their workforce and make it easier for them to do that. i have in front of me title v that governs in the federal government. and i have three volume on opm guidance. no federal manager can understand all of this. when you mention there are 105 hiring authorities, that's first time i heard that number. when i was in the federal government i probably new of 5
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or 10 of them. if i was able as a manager to be trained by opm to understand what was available to me it would make a much more effective federal government, i think. in terms of performance measures, i'm a big fan of part. the agency i worked for was one of the first parted. it was a refreshing exercise. i think we should build on that experience and it's going to incentivize agencies and personnel to relook at how they view risk and reward within the system. omb just sent out information about revised aw 21 and talked about enterprise risk management, that's a fundamental
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different way of viewing how to run federal government. you want to encourage risk and reward. that's the same thing with performance management. you want to encourage risk and rewards for those high-flying innovative employees. >> my time is expiring. i don't want to take up more than i should. but if there are other comments on the -- >> i think mr. cox is going to burst if he doesn't comment. >> i would love to hear your comments. >> senator, i agree. in looking with removing poor performers, the probationary period i don't think is adequately looked at and reviewed by managers. high numbers -- >> one-year period. >> high numbers have two years. all of dod is two years.
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most title 38 in the va are two years. we are moving pretty much to way over 50% of the federal government if not 70% in two-year probationary period. there needs to be strong management strange and ongoing dialogue, interacting with employees, evaluating their performance. i supervise and manage employees myself. in afge. and i know usually within three to six months if they are going to be able to make it or not. and that period many times people do not pay attention to that. and i think that's a very, very valuable thing -- >> value -- >> basically. it's probationary period, it's thank you, very much, go away. for career employees it's a 30-day notice. i notify you today 30 days from
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today you can be removed over the rolls, you are not paid.fve the rolls, you are not paid.fve the rolls, you are not paid.er the rolls, you are not paid.r the rolls, you are not paid. the rolls, you are not paid. the grievance process may go on. you may be able to forum shop but you can only choose one forum. once you select it that's it. you cannot jump from one system to the next. if people continue on the rolls for long period of times, i looked to management, and the law is clear. 30 days and you're out that door and that's your problem. back to long-term of hiring the issue of investigations the security clearance, opm is contracted all the way out. 1984 from the day i asked for an application to go to work at va as a registered nurse, i filled it out, was interviewed, was selected, went through
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is you security clearance, add physical, gave notice of my other job and was on the job in less than 28 days.security clea physical, gave notice of my other job and was on the job in less than 28 days.hadd physical, gave notice of my other job and was on the job in less than 28 days. d physical, gave notice of my other job and was on the job in less than 28 days.ad physical, gave notice of my other job and was on the job in less than 28 days. physical, gave notice of my other job and was on the job in less than 28 days. >> that's because your such an extraordinary person. >> the security and background we don't want people not suitable working for the government. still yet, i agree with my colleague said many times you can bring people on, if you get bad information there's still probationary period. you can let them go. >> that's very helpful. i appreciate that. on clearance, we did pass legislation two years ago now to try to not just expedite it but put resources against it because of lack logs. that is huge issue with regard to competing the with private sector. everyone wants to have an appeal
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how can you make sure it's fair or something it's not giving other people who are performing well the sense that it doesn't matter. i think that's part of empowering people. thank you. >> thank you, senator portman. can i read a truly bold, and i like bold statements, that mr. cox wrote in his written testimony that i would love for us to have conversation on. mr. cox, without embarrassing, i'm going to quote you here. it is never because civil service laws or procedures are too difficult to navigate but rather because some managers do not want it take the time to ep or the and document poor performance or look at the ability to do that. i would like to have a conversation about that. >> if i can build on that because i think one of the area i agree with mr. cox is in
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management supervision. you get the best floor nurse you promote her to a role where he or she is going to do scheduling. in order to move up pay rate, that's a promotion. you're going to do it. you don't sigh here is the bundle and we will give you management training to see if it is something can you do. maybe a nurse manager is someone who is not a very good nurse. that's one of the challenges. included with this issue, i would like to throw i introduce the training bill, i'm going to introduce it into 115th. to senator lankford's point, how much would supervisory training really quality supervisory training, take care of the problems we are talking about today rather than simply
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arbitrary, you know, now we're going to reduce, you know, probationary times. you know, that can be maybe easy fixes that don't really fix anything. >> mr. corsi. >> i would agree with mr. cox on issue of managers. you have to understand the managers are torn different ways day in and day out. the human capital experts on employee relations, we have hugely reduced that staff over the last 50 years. 50% reduction on management side of the house. with all the budget challenges and the mission and support side, those staffs have taken a disproportionate hit. managers day in and day out are weighing the value of pursuing disciplinary action and knowing the commitment on their part it'll take to pursue those
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versus turning a blind eye. which is not ideal. but they have making those judgments. two-year probationary period will go a long way in giving managers time to deal with performance issues. unless the manager was very aggressive, going through the process, even with the one-year probationary period, it is very difficult to get everything that needs to get done within that first year. two-year probationary period to be honest will give management the flexibility to be able to go through that due process they need to go through before working with the employees, in performance improvement plans. in toward work that -- >> so we have heard from mr. cox that we have a two-year probationary period de facto building, 70%. what's the proof that the probationary period actually accomplishes what you suggest it
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might accomplish given that 70% of the work force is already under two-year probationary period. >> department of defense put two year probationary period in effect. all i would say, it is probably a little too soon, and again sense i retired end of october, i don't know what the experience has been because it was -- >> i want to say i didn't i have managed -- not a big workforce, but i ran big organizations in north dakota that had property rights going through the process and it would never take two years to know i didn't have someone i need in my work force. to suggest this is the end all and be all is problematic to me because it may in fact be this person would be a wonderful person with the right supervisory skills could emerge as one of the best employees you could ever have. but if you don't have attention focused by managers on developing the skill sets of who they are, i don't see any amount
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of time, you know, what's the old idiom that work expands for the time you've given to fill it. and two years, 15 months, i don't know, it doesn't seem to me that that's the fix to the problem we have. that we have public employees who stay on the position too long in ill-fitted positions and we don't have managers to train employees to be good employees. >> >> i agree with you. and i agree with mr. cox. >> senator lankford, agree with senator lankford. >> everybody. i'm in complete agreement. when i was a new scs i denied
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an employee a promotion and that employee filed grievance for age discrimination and it took six months to resolve that. and end result was i denied her the promotion. but it was wearing and time consuming. after that i became manager of the department's eeo shop and what i found there was that there was a lot of forum shopping. people come in, adverse personnel action against them and they would be seeking a way to address that through the through the eeo process. a lot of this gets to -- i really support your notion of supervisory training because it's needed. managers need to know what their rights are. it comes to the point where a
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lot of agencies and i will speak about the department of energy where it is considered to be too much trouble to deal with poor performers and you -- as bob said, you have so many constraints on your time you want to make them go away. >> can i ask for clarification is that because of the paperwork on it or number of hearings? one of the things that come up is if managers document and during their evaluations show lower evaluations and say, you're not performing and i'm going to put this in the file and you i want you to perform better, then it goes faster. if they are not putting them in the files and not having the meeting this becomes complicated, right or wrong? >> they can still go forum shopping, they can claim you
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rated their performance adversely because you discriminated against them, for example. or you were favoring other employees and not them. so that goes into a number of separate processes and you can get involved in a number of different forums. but you need to change the culture of the age enspip that can be done with supervisory training. but you also need to make it clear it managers and supervisors that they do have a responsibility, you know, to taxpayer that they will deal with poor performers and use that, take that as part of their everyday job. >> is that part of a supervisor or managers yearly evaluation of how they handle it? >> how are they -- when they are evaluated -- because i asked opm
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for evaluation and i have a copy of the ses executive agreement and the annual evaluation. there is a section about leading people. but it has a list of criteria one line is holds employees accountable for performance and conduct sb seeks and considered employee input, seeks and retains talent to achieve high quality diverse work force with skills and need accomplished performance. this is an incredibly long list of all of the things in it. when managers are held to account in their evaluation, is this something considered important for their evaluation so they know it is important for the wait ththe way they manage evaluate? >> in my experience, no. >> in my opinion, it does not
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get the visibility on the annual performance cycle. >> ms. johnson? >> i know within our agencies there's supervisory functions we are graded on to say it is a reflection of how we're grated at the end, i don't know that's a completely true statement. >> one of the things i look at. most people live up to what they know they are being scored on. my daughter studies for what is going to be on the test. we all do. if i know there's going to be a test on how i did hiring, how i put together the criteria for that, how i documented issues, both good and bad, how i encouraged employees in the training, how i help facilitate a better work force, if i know that is a major part of any evaluation, i make sure i accomplish that. because that's part of the evaluation.
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i haven't talked about this yet, but we should have an opportunity to work with opm on how everyone is evaluated and what are the key criteria of that. >> mr. cox? >> senator, i'm thinking back to my days of working in the medical center. there were various units that always wanted people wanting to work on that unit. number one, a great nurse manager. care for the veterans was superb. ratings that veterans gave was great. everybody seemed happy. there was a give and take of getting the scheduling done, the work done, if there was someone slacking, the group would take care of it. there would be a unit where no one wanted to work. that it was a disaster all the way through. and it had to do with the management skills. i suspect some of my colleagues
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have managed units where they are trying to get people to work and other place where people are begging move me to that section. i would welcome the opportunity for afge and congress for some of us to do some type of study in the workplace. there's things that motivate people. what is it that creates good managers that makes people want to work with that group and perform well? and i find good leaders always seem to attract good employees and that even makes them a better leader. i don't have all of that pulled together, i'm not the researcher but i have seen this happen well in organizations. >> i will add to what mr. cox
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mentioned. oftentimes we bring people in on technical side, they are good at that. has senator heitkamp mentioned, we move them into management and they may not have management skill sets to be successful in managing but, they feel that's the only way to continue to progress career by going into management field so having that dual track that you continue to progress their career as well as having the opportunity to bring in managers that have soft skills and have management skills that can be successful in managing the workforce and no how to manage a workforce is important.kno how to manage a workforce is
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importanw how to manage a workforce is important. and providing adequate training for new managers when they come into the workforce. not only in dealing with the processes, but ensuring they have that soft skill as well to be able to successfully manage employees, i think is very important. >> mr. valdez? >> i would encourage you to think more expansively about supervisory training. we are highly supportive of building a leadership pipeline within the federal government. leadership, leading people is fundamentally different than managing an organization. so we are supporting of developing leaders at gs9 and gs11 level and providing them with the skills they require as they move up the management ranks to be able to effectively lead organizations and get to the point where mr. cox was saying they are preferred employer.
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currently there's no such thing in the federal government. >> can i ask you, are you familiar with my bill? >> no. >> it would be great if you would look at it. make suggestion that your organization want to make. i totally agree. i think you can take that great nurse and during the period of time provide leadership and understand dynamics of the group and move them into management way if you build leaders. i couldn't agree with you more. i think our challenge is that we look for the easy fix. none of this is easy. and growing leadership and growing management skills because it's two sides of the same coin is not easy. but people have to see there's benefit in the career to take it on. let's talk about the senior nurse. in my case, i'll give you a personal example.
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one of my first jobs was working in the legal section of the tax department in my state. the man who headed that up, the general counsel, one of the best attorneys in the state of north dakota and one of the best attorneys i've worked with, wasn't exactly a good manager. but i learned so much from him that it gave me the confidence to move forward. we should reward him, for being a mentor in place for building capacity and leadership. i understand that there has to be a hierarchy. they have a unified purpose if what they are doing. people know what the responsibilities are and they come to point of achievement together. that's not easy all the time when you're trying to take my --
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my dad's army, don't ask questions. just march in that -- that's not the army any more. i wouldn't be successful recruiting people to that model any more. we have to get away from old ideas and old thinking of hierarchy and think about leadership and management. i welcome any input you have. we haven't introduced it yet. i'm curious about what you think we could do more of. >> let give you one more while i have the chance. training budgets have been slashed throughout the federal government. usually one of the first things that go. and i think one of the things that you should consider when you're thinking about this training is giving agencies funding and finding ways to carve out dedicated line item funding for this kind of training because it doesn't exist and it's the first thing that's cut.
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>> i would say you're not going to find a disagreement with us on that. you and i both know training is usually farmed out to some outside group. they come in and sometimes employees find it helpful and sometimes they don't. sometimes the way they do training ends up on somebody's waste list. somebody says what are we paying for that for. let's make sure training is effective. we're not just saying we're supposed to do training on a budge went this is nearby contractor and they can do it and we can check the box that training was done when no one thought it was useful at the end of it. >> i have another appointment to rush off to. i want to ask that a statement of the national treasuries em employment union be entered into the record. >> without objection. so i think we're okay. >> and i look forward to a continuing discussion. i want to thank senator lankford for making the federal work
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force a part of this committee. we are going to continue, don't think this is one chance. we want to hear from you. i am always amazed when we get into these discussions how -- no matter what perspective you have, we come down to the same thing. so that means there's an answer. that means that if we make the investment of time to listen to what you are challenged with that we can make progress. and maybe we can have fewer employees if we have more productive employees. less turnover. maybe there's a way to do this without breaking any budgets, i guess is my point. >> we'll be here about another six minutes. we are trying to wrap things up.
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if anyone is wondering if we are going to 7:00 p.m. one of the things i would say, we are building a bucket for mick mulvaney, that's not a budget office, that's management office and we expect management side to be aggressive to fix the broken systems that are there. it is something that beth worked hard on when she was there and faced frustrations on it as well. we anticipate a new opm director to step in and finish out some of the work they already started. that's part of the oversight. that's one of our buckets. the other bucket is what do we have that is legislative, overly complicated, and needs to be fixed with this system. so as you have ideas, we are welcome on those things. i want to bring up one thing, because it's new, mr. cox you mentioned this in your testimony, dod new process of
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new beginnings in trying to work towards merit-based and gs system, and is there a better way to do this. i understand this is a five-hour conversation. not a five-minute conversation. it's new, it's being rolled out. part of it oversight. part of it is -- part of the question is what concerns you and what excites you about that process of the new beginning as we're looking at it being rolled out. mr. cox. >> what excites me is that it's been joint cooperative leadership between management, working through it together, figuring out how best recognize and take care of good employees and also for managers to listen to the input of the unions as to how to measure and to evaluate
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performance management. the hold back i think it's working well, at the top as it moves down to actually where the rubber meets the road between a front line supervisor and front line employees. level of training, the level of commitment for those parties to work together as well the parties at the pentagon level and various parts of dod. >> your written testimony said management needs to have courage which i thought was interesting statement to make which is to address issues there and be able to confront and not be passive is how i took that. i mentioned earlier the statistics that 22% said promotions are based on merits. i didn't mention in a similar
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study, 37% of federal employees are affirmed for positive things in the workforce. vast majority don't feel like they are verbally confirm. for taking on and doing a good job. which by far, most of them are. affirmation part is important to be able to figure out. maybe looking for how this works. mr. corsi? >> new beginnings working with the unions, we went from pass/fail where you can recognize outstanding performance in three tiers. it requires managers to have face-to-face discussions talking about performance and expectations, so there are no surprises in the evaluation process. if you tie new beginnings to a system like the demonstration projects that are out there
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right now which are all pay for performance, now you have evaluation system to go with the pay system which can be a win-win situation. >> you said it correctly at the beginning when you said that we are have a 20th or maybe 19th century workforce structure for 21st century missions. so the association is fully engaged and we're ready to work with you and anybody else to get a modernization of the workforce. we're supportive of new beginnings but we would like to see a wholesale top to bottom review of the schedule. and frankly, of the senior executive service. what is its current role and can purpose within the federal government today. >> let throw out unfair question to you.
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how long does it have to be out there before it transitions into gs evaluation? is that five years, three years? demonstrations programs that have been out there much longer? we consistently hear people say we need to address the gs system. right behind that they say, that's the most painful experience the federal government has taken on in decades, i would never ever touch it if i was you. but we need to do it. so the question is, how do we get a good read for it to know this works well. management, afge, everyone looks at it and says, this is a good functioning system. let's start trying to multiply it outside other places. >> senator, i would say it's going to take three to five years. because they phase
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implementation for dod, it's going to take two or three years to get a good assessment to make adjustments. >> mrs. johnson. >> as far as new beginnings it's positive in having discussion with our employees and make sure they understand what their goals are. oftentimes there's conversation at beginning of the grading period and one at the end of the grading period and that does not give the employees the opportunity to understand how they are performing during that period. so that they can make improvements and give management opportunity to give suggestions to the employees on how they can improve performance and also to recognize good performance. instead of waiting to the end of the grading period to even recognize good performance. as far as how long we need to
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look at the system i do feel like there were some good opportunities with nsps when that was rolled out. i think there were areas that needed improvement but i think instead of trying to make that system better, we ended that system and went back to the gs system which is old and does not lend itself to recognize our good employees and be able to adjust within that system for hiring practices. i don't know that i can put a timeframe on it, but i do think we need to make sure that we are looking at the system and making sure that we've utilized all of the opportunity for a new system before we just say it's not going to work. >> there's a tremendous amount we can talk about.
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several of you put things in the written testimony that we never even got to today. those are part of the record. they are not being ignored. we just, again, we could be here a very long time talking through those issues. i do appreciate both your written statements, oral statements and the conversation that we can have. if we can multiply this conversation, it would be helpful. we look forward to working with mick mulvaney. with opm leadership. help share ideas with them as well. and be able to see where we go. before we adjourn i need to announce we hope to have a hearing on february 9 to discuss data and sighen in the regulatory process. i will conclude today's hearing. thank you to you. before we conclude for the work and preparation we did on this, the hearing record will remain open for 15 days physical february 24th, close of business, for submission of
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statements and recognition of the record. this hearing is adjourned.
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the annual conservative political action began this morning in washington, d.c. mike pence will be at gathering at 77:30 eastern. our live coverage begins at 7. okay eastern. can you work all of this on our companion network, c-span. tomorrow morning president trump at cpac. it begins at 10:10 eastern, also live on c-span.
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house oversight and government subcommittee held a hearing on whistleblower protectiones. the subcommittee looked at benefits and short cummings of 2012 law. and trump orders to certain agencies curtail public communications. subcommittee on government operations will come to order. without objection the chair is authorized to declare a

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