Reps. Cummings And Lynch Release New Report On Need To Fill Critical Gaps In Federal Workforce
REPS. CUMMINGS AND LYNCH RELEASE NEW REPORT
ON NEED TO FILL CRITICAL GAPS IN FEDERAL WORKFORCE
Washington, D.C. (Feb. 9, 2015)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on National Security, released a new report by the Government Accountability Office they requested in February 2014 to examine critical skill gaps across the federal government.
Over the past several years, Federal employees have sacrificed nearly $140 billion as a result of a three-year pay freeze and pay cuts in the form of increased retirement contributions for newly hired employees. They have also endured sequestration cuts, furloughs, and a 16-day government shutdown. Legislation proposed by Republicans required additional budget cuts, pay freeze extensions, arbitrary workforce cuts, increases in retirement contributions, decreases in retirement benefits, and the elimination of federal pensions.
The new GAO report states that “mission critical skills gaps within specific federal agencies as well as across the federal workforce pose a high-risk to the nation because they impede the government from cost-effectively serving the public and achieving results.” It adds that “current budget and long-term fiscal pressures,” as well as other factors, “are threatening the performance of federal agencies.” For example, the report warns that “an information technology (IT) workforce without the appropriate competencies could impede the development of the multimillion-dollar information systems needed to conduct federal IT projects.”
“This report raises significant concerns that federal agencies are now facing profound deficiencies that will only worsen if we stay on this untenable course,” said Cummings. “If Republicans continue to squeeze federal workers like this, we won’t be able to recruit, develop, or retain the best talent to work on behalf of the American people.”
“By identifying and closing skills gaps within the federal government, we can maximize the ability of our dedicated federal workforce to address emerging mission challenges, from cybersecurity to medical research,” said Lynch. “The Government Accountability Office’s study identifies existing critical skills gaps and the best ways to assess and mitigate competency needs moving forward. With an expected increase in new retirement claims, federal agencies must prevent turnover from causing a gap in institutional knowledge and leadership. We must also take heed that there is a concerning and growing skills gap in some basic trades that are essential to our manufacturing base and underpin our national security and high end enterprises. I support the GAO’s efforts to ensure that our federal workforce is running in the most advanced and efficient manner possible for many years to come.”
The report recommended that the Office of Personnel Management take several steps:
- strengthen its methodology for identifying and addressing skills gaps by using stakeholders early in the process;
- establish a schedule and process for collecting government-wide staffing and competency data to help identify competing priorities that need to be balanced due to resource constraints; and
- develop a core set of metrics for agencies to measure progress made in closing skills gaps.