OPM kicks off ‘break up’ effort by naming interagency team

The Office of Personnel Management is putting a team in place to figure out how to move key services such as HR Solutions to GSA.

Following the General Services Administration’s lead, the Office of Personnel Management named an experienced executive to lead its reorganization effort.

Sources confirmed Kathleen McGettigan, OPM’s chief management officer, is heading up the intra-agency task force to  “break up” the agency under the Trump administration reorganization plan.

McGettigan, who served as acting OPM director for 14 months and has been with the agency for more than 27 years, is designing the plan to move the HR Solutions organization and the retirement and health services organization to GSA. It’s unclear if she also is leading the move of the National Background Investigations Bureau to the Defense Department as well as whatever is left of OPM to the Office of Management and Budget.

In June, GSA named Mary Davie, the deputy commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service, to lead an internal task force to figure out how best to accept the new services from OPM. Federal News Radio also has learned that GSA brought in Erv Koehler, the assistant commissioner for customer and stakeholder engagement, from Atlanta to be the acting deputy commissioner.

Sources said McGettigan had its first kick-off meeting last week with its task force. Federal News Radio couldn’t confirm all the other members of the OPM team, but they do include many executives from the HR Solutions shop and possibly leaders from OMB.

Federal News Radio sent OPM several specific questions about the reorganization task force efforts, including who is leading it and others on it, but received only a basic response.

“OPM understands that the reorganization will include many transitional stages that involve continued discussions between all relevant parties,” an OPM spokeswoman said in an email to Federal News Radio. “Many aspects need to be coordinated and fully understood as OPM works to create the most effective way to deliver services to the American people from their government.”

Sources said the initial discussions are starting to reveal just how complicated it will be to move the pieces from OPM to GSA. The meetings will look at matters such as contracts and potential outlines of the changes.

“Everyone is freaked out a bit,” a source said. “I think if you work for one of the components like HR Solutions, you will be disturbed but not lose your job. If you are part of the support offices like legislative affairs or the general counsel’s office, you may be in real jeopardy of losing your job.”

All of these efforts are further complicated by provisions in spending bills that restrict agencies from spending any money on reorganization plans without congressional approval.

“None of the funds made available in this or any other appropriations Act may be used to increase, eliminate, or reduce funding for a program, project, or activity as proposed in the president’s budget request for a fiscal year until such proposed change is subsequently enacted in an appropriation act, or unless such change is made pursuant to the reprogramming or transfer provisions of this or any other appropriations act,” the 2018 spending bill reads.

The 2019 spending bills have similar provisions.

We will learn more on July 26 when GSA and OPM get to explain their efforts further to the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. It will be interesting to see who ends up testifying, OPM Director Jeff Pon and GSA Administration Emily Murphy, or McGettigan and Davie.

This will be the third hearing on the administration’s plan to reorganize the government. OMB Deputy Director for Management Margaret Weichert appeared before the House and Senate oversight committees seeking to alleviate concerns by lawmakers.

Other personnel news

Melinda Rogers is the new deputy chief information officer at the Justice Department after spending the last seven years as the chief information security officer. She replaced Kevin Deeley, who passed away suddenly in February.

As a result, Larry Reed will serve as acting chief information security officer to replace Rogers. Reed has been the assistant director for security operations since 2016.

Over at the Air Force, Bill Marion received a temporary promotion to acting chief information officer after Lt. Gen. Brad Shwedo became the new CIO of the Joint Staff in April. Marion has been deputy CIO of the Air Force since May 2016 where, among his focus areas, is the effort to hire and train more cyber workers.

Former Homeland Security Department deputy CIO and senior adviser Barry West landed a new job in the private sector after retiring from federal service on May 31. West is the new president of MicroTech, a service-disabled veteran-owned small business which provides a host of IT services such as telecommunications, cybersecurity, cloud and network systems integration.

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