Image of Public Service: Working Together for America: The Coalition for Effective Change Celebrates Its 15th Anniversary by Sharing New Opportunities for Management and Labor to Collaborate on Improving Civil Service Performance

Article excerpt

The Coalition for Effective Change (CEC), which is made up of 34 organizations with a combined membership of more than 600,000, celebrated its 15th anniversary on June 22, 2009. The CEC came together in 1993 to provide a voice for executives, managers, and professionals in programs to reform the federal government. Policy papers developed by CEC are available on its website (www.effective-change.org).

The 15th anniversary was celebrated with a forum in which management and federal employee labor organizations collaborated on how to improve civil service performance. The forum was organized by Joe Mancias of the Executive Networking Forum. The event began with CEC Chairperson Roz Kleeman noting that the CEC is unique in having lasted 15 years.

Kleeman also noted that a major accomplishment of CEC was helping to persuade the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to confirm in Part 251 of Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations that management organizations have the right to meet with agency management. Some agencies have been slow to recognize this, and CEC continues to encourage OPM to periodically remind agencies of this expectation.

In 1993, management and professional organizations wanted to ensure that their views would be heard as well. John Sturdivant, then president of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), agreed that management organizations would have to organize to be heard, and he supported their addition to the new National Partnership Council (NPC). Both the Senior Executives Association (SEA) and the Federal Managers Association (FMA) were given seats on the NPC as representatives for all management and professional organizations.

The Stars are Coming Together ... to Reform the Civil Service

The current OPM Director, John Berry, delivered the keynote address at 15th anniversary celebration and heartily endorsed CEC and labor organizations for working together to improve the civil service.

He said that a new executive order on labor-management partnerships would be forthcoming soon and declared, "The stars are coming together to give us an opportunity to make the first significant reform since passage of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1979."

He noted that the President and the Congress both support good government initiatives and described public service as something worthy of the public's support. "Government," he said, "is doing a great job, but many employees will be retiring and we need to hire more good people."

In the near future, Berry pledged to recreate an SES office at OPM to work on executive issues. He called for reform of the General Schedule--the more than 50-year-old pay and classification system that no longer covers half of the workforce and has failed to close the pay gap with the private sector.

Berry also called for a renewed emphasis on training for federal employees and indicated agencies need to work with OPM to simplify and speed up the hiring process--specifically dropping the use of lengthy knowledge, skill, and ability essays and substituting the use of resumes, as is done in the private sector.

He added that he is working together with the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on these hiring initiatives, which were described in the June 11, 2009, Memorandum for Heads of Departments and Agencies M-09-20. Berry confirmed his support for hiring initiatives in his own June 18, 2009, Memorandum for Heads of Departments and Agencies.

Berry asked for CEC and labor support for OPM's long- and short-term initiatives, particularly the development of an effective pay-for-performance system. He wants to bring together the best and the brightest people in a conference September 2009 to address how the federal government can become a model employer.

The conference will be co-chaired by former Maryland Senator Paul Sarbanes; Laszlo Bock, vice president for People Operations at Google; and David Elwood, dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. …