OPM grants all agencies excepted hiring authorities for digital services

Jason Miller, Executive Editor, Federal News Radio

wfedstaff | June 4, 2015 8:14 pm

The Office of Personnel Management is making it easier for agencies to hire digital services experts.

OPM Director Katherine Archuleta approved the use of excepted service appointments for people with these skills for up to two years at General Schedule 11 to 15 levels.

“This authority to hire digital services staff may be used to fill positions only on these teams directly needed for work on Smarter IT Delivery Initiative projects that were funded in the 2016 budget. … These technical positions would involve in-depth knowledge of and experience in creating modern digital services, gap analysis expertise in understanding where shortfalls exist in capacity to design, develop, deploy and operate customer-facing services, specialized knowledge in digital service consolidation and migration, cloud service utilization, and business process standardization to support a wide variety of mission requirements,” Archuleta wrote in a memo issued to agencies May 1.

The excepted service appointments let agencies fill the jobs without public notice, but veterans’ preference still must be applied. But Archuleta told agencies that OPM “strongly encourages agencies to conduct appropriate recruiting and notice” to fill these positions.

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OPM granted the use of excepted service under a “pilot” program for the General Services Administration’s 18F and the Office of Management and Budget’s U.S. Digital Services Office over the last year.

18F used this approach to grow to more than 100 employees as of October.

Now as OMB instructed agencies to build digital services teams in the fiscal 2016 budget, OPM is expanding this authority to all agencies.

As part of the memo, OPM listed 36 “candidate” programs from 25 agencies that could take advantage of these new hiring authorities. The programs include Census 2020, the Homeland Security Department’s Einstein and Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation program, the Department of Health and Human Services’ HealthCare.gov and the National Archives and Records Administration Electronic Records Archive (ERA) program.

Sixteen agencies also highlighted dozens of agency transactional services that could use help from digital services experts.

Archuleta said no appointments under this authority may be extended beyond Sept. 30, 2017, and all hires must be “directly associated with Smarter IT Delivery Initiative projects.”

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