Candidates for OPM set sail by pledged confirmation hearings, Fed support, and support for the qualification system.

President Biden pick Leading the federal government’s embarrassed personnel agency told the senator Thursday that it would put the needs of federal staff at the forefront of all decision-making if it was confirmed to be the director of the Human Resources Department.

“I believe people are and should be the center of all policy making. Fortunately, if I confirm, I will continue to serve this guiding principle while serving the American people,” OPM said. Candidate Kiran Ahuja said. .. “I pledge to protect the principles of our merit system, which is the foundation of civil servants. We serve and support federal employees and restore, rebuild and rebuild the federal workforce. It is my mission to do. “

Ahuja, who recently served as CEO of Philanthropy Northwest, a network of nonprofit organizations in the Pacific Northwest, served as Chief of Staff for OPM from 2015 to 2017 and was the first in South Asia to lead a federal HR shop. At a confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee on Thursday, Ahuja saw two directors resign a few months later, along with a number of acting coaches during the Trump administration. Promised the stability of the institution.

“For OPM, I think many challenges are not having stable leadership at the top,” she said. “I promise to be there as long as you and President Biden support you, because I think it is necessary.”

Senator Rob Portman of R-Ohio asked how Ahuja would address long-standing complaints from many federal workers, as described in the annual Federal Employee Perspective Survey. ..

“39% of federal workers believe that promotion is based on benefits, the rest are not,” Portman said. “It needs to be very worrisome, and only 34% think management is dealing with performance degradation appropriately. To maximize benefits and address performance degradation, How do you improve the recruitment process at the federal level? “

Unlike the previous administration, which sought to shorten the federal severance process, Ahuja said he would work with agencies to better support and train managers to use the tools already available. ..

“Most of the time I’ve seen executive roles are poor performance due to lack of employee involvement or a mismatch of skills and talent in that position, or a clear performance rating. There are no indicators. “She said. “It’s important to think about and focus on what OPM can do with performance management guidance, support managers, and support agencies with an understanding of those processes in relation to focusing on poor performers. I think .. .. Managers often focus on their work, not their day-to-day supervision. That’s just as important. “

When Portman asked how quickly he could return to his physical office, Ahuja asked multiple questions about teleworking. Meanwhile, Republican Senator James Lankford asked the agency if the transition to the largest telework by the COVID-19 pandemic offered the agency an opportunity. You can move to a specific location and run it remotely and permanently.

“I think I’ve discovered a job that could permanently work in remote areas over the past year. I’m focusing on the area of ​​spouses working for active U.S. military people. “Rankford said. “Military spouses have a great deal of difficulty getting jobs in different places. If they are allowed to work in remote areas, they can assign spouses anywhere in the world. , Still have the opportunity to work for one of our agencies, which will open up many opportunities for them. “

Ahuja focuses on protecting the safety of federal officials who need to interact with the general public while balancing the need for public direct access to federal services, finding more complete opportunities. Said he was very interested in. Work from home for the entire government. She said telecommuting can provide agencies with savings in terms of both local wages and their physical office footprint.

“I greatly support the opportunities that telework and remotework can offer, and if confirmed, I’ll definitely be devoted,” she said. “We are now completely rethinking our work not only in the federal government, but across the country. It not only gives opportunities to individuals who are not necessarily based in the city, but actually provides services, especially I think it’s a way to thank your military spouse when they’re in remote areas. “

Republican Senator Josh Hawley praised the Trump administration’s controversial decision to discontinue “divisional” diversity and inclusion training by federal agencies and contractors. Hurley, who pushed to nullify the outcome of the 2020 presidential election in an attack on the US Capitol, blew up training as an example of “left-wing indoctrination,” but a recent federal worker survey found. They greatly supported the training and “trump course”opposite effect.. “

“OPM is effectively the federal human resources department, affecting millions of civil servants. This job ensures that Americans are racially united rather than divided. I want to make a promise, “says Hurley. “I think it’s important to promise not to divide Americans according to race, so my question to you promises to support the benefits-based employment system and the core values ​​that underpin it. And what is more than a political ideology, a racial ideology, or a law that defines a merit-based employment system and what those considerations and qualifications should be? “

“I understand the role of this position, take it seriously, and focus on adhering to the principles of the merit system,” said Ahuja. “I also understand the value that no one should be discriminated against [against] Race-based; I was a former civil rights lawyer, but I take it very seriously. I think we all support Martin Luther King, Jr. saying that it should be judged by the content of the character, not the color of the skin. That is the approach I took. “ Candidates for OPM set sail by pledged confirmation hearings, Fed support, and support for the qualification system.

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