The Office of Management and Budget is losing a key member of its federal workforce leadership.
Pam Coleman, the agency’s associate director of performance and personnel management, will step down from her role on Aug. 19, having served in the position since February 2021.
A source confirmed to Federal News Network that Coleman plans to take time off work and look for an opportunity to contribute to a voting rights organization.
Coleman made significant contributions to OMB over the last year and a half, frequently tying back to the broad priorities under the President’s Management Agenda, and her work on the President’s Management Council. The PMA focuses on three main areas: strengthening and empowering the federal workforce, delivering excellent, equitable and secure federal services and managing the business of government.
“Pam Coleman is a true public servant. She has been instrumental in the Biden-Harris administration’s mission to strengthen and empower the federal workforce,” OMB Deputy Director of Management Jason Miller wrote in an email to Federal News Network. “Her unbridled passion and wealth of knowledge on effective government has been central to this administration’s development and execution of the President’s Management Agenda, including the government-wide initiative to deliver excellent and equitable federal services and customer experience. Pam’s dedication and commitment to making government better for all Americans and her leadership at OMB will be sorely missed. We are grateful for her important contributions and excited about where her journey will take her next.”
Key pieces of the PMA, which Coleman helped spearhead, centered on positioning the federal government as a model employer. Part of that effort meant focusing on increasing paid internship opportunities, along with working through common hiring challenges across agencies.
“Early career talent is really important,” Coleman said at an Alliance for Digital Innovation event in May. “It’s not just about people retiring, or being retirement eligible. You have to figure out ways that you can have more people who are early career talent, or folks who are looking at the tools in a different way.”
Coleman helped lead the release of the first-ever draft learning agenda for the president’s management priorities, which intended to identify and correct potential barriers and gaps in the PMA.
“Pam Coleman has been a tremendous leader and a great partner in working to build a more effective government,” Max Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, wrote in an email to Federal News Network. “Pam represents all the best qualities of a public servant: smart, tireless and dedicated to the details. We are grateful for her service.”
Over the last several months, Coleman also led three rounds of pulse surveys for the federal workforce, to quickly identify and track how federal employees feel about changes in agency’s return to physical workplaces, employee engagement and burnout, and equity and inclusion.
“The federal government can only realize our vision of being a model employer by continuously evaluating how we support our workforce and improving our engagement. The pulse survey continues to provide an opportunity to learn from our remarkable federal public servants,” she wrote in a Feb. 24 blog post.
Much of Coleman’s work centered on improving federal services for the public. On July 8, she helped launch several interagency priorities to improve customer experience. Some of those goals included helping members of the public who are approaching retirement, recovering from a disaster or transitioning from active-duty military service.
“Too often, people have to navigate a tangled web of government websites, offices and phone numbers to access the services they depend on,” Coleman wrote.
She also worked with several agencies to pilot the subject matter expert qualification assessment (SMEQA) program. Subject matter experts help hiring managers find the right people for technical roles, to find more innovative ways to solve problems, Coleman said. Much of the project focused on collaborating across agencies.
“Not only are these agencies using SMEQA, but they’re committed to sharing these extra applicants with other agencies. This is about, ‘how do we help the whole system by using a process that works, and so we don’t have to reinvent every time?’” she said. “We are in an ongoing effort to implement stronger assessments and hiring practices to identify qualified talent to meet that workforce priority in the PMA.”
Prior to joining OMB, Coleman served on the Department of Homeland Security’s agency review team on the Biden-Harris transition. She also has worked as special assistant to former President Barack Obama, and as the first leadership development team lead in the White House Presidential Personnel Office.
Coleman’s departure has created yet another opening in the Biden administration’s management team. Beyond the deputy director for management and chief information officer, there are no permanent appointees currently working at the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, Office of Federal Financial Management or Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).
Dustin Brown, OMB’s deputy assistant director for management, is deputy to Coleman, but it is unclear who will take over her responsibilities while looking for a replacement.