Expect the agency to move ahead with plans to revamp the procedures the government must follow in a reduction in force. Its proposal would rate job performance over seniority in deciding which employes would be laid off and probably would limit the ability of those workers to take the lower-grade jobs of others. OPM was so primed to announce the changes in July that it even had a news release ready, until the White House put the proposals on "hold."
"We've still got them sitting there ready to roll," said Patrick S. Korten, the agency's new executive assistant director for policy and communications.
OPM is also hoping to push through a "voucher system" for government workers now enrolled in the increasingly costly Federal Employes Health Benefits program. The agency has had a draft of the legislation ready for months. The idea is to give employes and retirees a fixed amount of money to spend as they wish on health insurance.
Also on OPM's agenda is the matter of classification accuracy. Having just finished a survey of job grades, the agency estimates that "overgrading"--classifying employes higher than their duties would warrant--has occurred in about 14 percent of the government's work force nationwide and about 30 percent here. The discrepancies, Korten says, are costing the government about $600 million a year in overpayments. OPM is also considering a plan that would reclassify positions as they became vacant, and the agency may also conduct some government-wide studies of specific positions.