Longtime HR Solutions leader retiring from OPM after 37 years

The longtime leader of the Office of Personnel Management’s fee-for-service human resources shop is retiring.

Joseph Kennedy, the associate director of HR Solutions, celebrated his retirement this week after 37 years with OPM, the agency told Federal News Network.

HR Solutions manages USAJOBS.govUSA Staffing and USA Hiring, among other projects. The organization provides a variety of contracting and strategic services and other products to help agencies fulfill their human capital needs.

A replacement for Kennedy hasn’t been named, OPM said.

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Kennedy has been the associate director for HR Solutions since 2013, when he managed the organization through sequestration and led an integration initiative to strengthen and make the group more efficient.

In 2019, Kennedy ran HR Solutions during its best sales year in five years, OPM said. About 93% of respondents to HR Solutions’ customer satisfaction surveys that year said the organization had made a positive impact on their organization’s effectiveness.

HR Solutions signed one of its biggest contracts earlier this year with the Defense Department, which agreed to use OPM’s USALearning platform, a fee-for-service training and education consultancy.

Previously, Kennedy served as OPM’s principal deputy associate director for employees services, where Kennedy served as the agency’s chief learning officer. He piloted hiring reform initiatives and lead the team that created Feds Hire Vets, a key piece of the Obama administration’s governmentwide veterans recruitment and employment strategy.

Kennedy also served as the acting director of OPM’s Office of Human Resources Development, where he executed several governmentwide training and leadership policies, the agency said.

In addition, he served as a Legis Congressional fellow with Rep. Constance Morella’s (R-Md.)’s office.

Earlier in his OPM career, he managed the training and management assistance program, a major contract operation that eventually became part of HR Solutions.

Kennedy leaves OPM during a time of uncertainty for the agency.

At one point, OPM and General Services Administrations had told Congress they planned to break the Trump administration’s proposed merger of the two agencies in phases, with HR Solutions among the first to move.

Both agencies had set March 2019 as a tentative date to complete the transfer of HR Solutions to GSA. That move never happened, as administration officials became absorbed in trying to pitch — and simultaneously agree on a legal analysis —for the merger to members of Congress.

Planning and preparing for the merger created anxiety and uncertainty across large swaths of OPM over the past year, though there are signs that HR Solutions has managed to keep its head above the fray.

As Federal News Network previously reported, the sheer prospect of the merger has driven top talent from many OPM organizations since September 2018. HR Solutions, however, had managed to hire and grow the size of its organization slightly over that time.

And as some OPM subcomponents saw double-digit drops on the most recent Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey and Best Places to Work rankings this past year, HR Solutions improved its engagement score by two points.

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