Stein’s testimony was telling and not just because EarthShare represents 80 national organizations and more than
600 local charities and manages the National Capital Area CFC, the nation’s largest. He said he was speaking for seven national federations representing 500 national charities and thousands of local ones.
Stein’s statement was also important because he was on the CFC-50 Commission, which OPM formed in 2011, the campaign’s 50th-anniversary year. It issued recommendations in 2012 to increase “the CFC’s accessibility, accountability, transparency and affordability.”
Joe Davidson writes the Federal Diary, a column about the federal workplace that celebrated its 80th birthday in November 2012. Davidson previously was an assistant city editor at The Washington Post and a Washington and foreign correspondent with The Wall Street Journal, where he covered federal agencies and political campaigns.
But OPM went beyond the commission’s recommendations and proposed changes that have slim support outside the agency.
OPM’s plan to move from local to regional control is a prime example.
Currently, “federal employee volunteers are engaged in all aspects of the campaign,” Stein said in his statement to the subcommittee. “This gives federal employees a strong sense of ownership and a stake in the success of the campaign.”
Instead of local committees, OPM wants regional oversight.
“This would dramatically diminish the role of local federal employee volunteers to the detriment of the campaign,” Stein said. “Such a radical reorganization of the campaign was not considered or discussed by the CFC Commission.”
Similarly, although charitable organizations favor expanding donation options, “we know from experience that it is a critical mistake to eliminate traditional means of giving altogether,” Stein said, “and the CFC Commission did not recommend eliminating giving options.”
Debby Hampton, president and chief executive of the United Way of Central Oklahoma, had a few complaints about the commission, but that wasn’t her main issue.
“The most disconcerting aspect to the regulations proposed by OPM is how far they go beyond the CFC-50 recommendations,” she said. “For example, the CFC-50 Commission recommended consolidating some of the ‘back-office’ processing. Instead, the OPM proposed regulations that drastically reduce local involvement in the CFC — a proposal that could devastate the CFC.”
Previous columns by Joe Davidson are available at wapo.st/JoeDavidson.