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OPM chastised for failing to implement needed changes

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has called on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to change how it manages federal workers.

Why did the GAO recommend change? The OPM oversees personal data for millions, including those with high level security clearance. The OPM has experienced multiple incidents that compromised its systems, one in June of 2015 and a second in July 2015. As a result, it is important to better ensure safe operations within OPM.

What did the GAO recommend? The GAO reports the OPM has 89 recommendations it has yet to implement. The recommendations span multiple areas. These include issues with mission critical skills, classification systems, human resource integration of payroll data and addressing employee misconduct.

How many recommendations have the OPM implemented? The GAO reports OPM had implemented 64 percent of the recommendations as of September 20, 2018. The agency states the OPM has yet to provide evidence it has implemented the remaining 29 recommendations.

At the time of the GAO’s report, OPM had planned on implementing 25 of these recommendations prior to the end of 2018. The agency would then implement the three additional recommendations before the end of 2019. Officials with OPM stated they would not implement a recommendation to deploy a security tool on contractor workstations as the agency stated it already had “compensating controls in place” to address this need.

According to a recent publication in the Federal Times, these recommendations were not implemented as promised.

Why is the OPM slow to implement these recommendations? The piece does not point to a specific cause, but a reduction in government funding is likely part of the problem. Regardless, a failure to implement these changes makes for a difficult and sometimes dangerous working environment for federal employees.

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