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OPM Report – Understaffing, lack of training at agencies hampering agency services to public

Washington Post – “Shortages of employees — a common feature of troubled government programs — are hampering a range of services to the public and stressing the federal workforce, the government’s central personnel agency said Wednesday. The report comes just ahead of a White House budget proposal that is expected to include plans for carrying out a long-term reduction in the federal workforce, as ordered by the Trump administration last April. In preparing its initial “Federal Workforce Priorities Report,” the Office of Personnel Management, under an initiative it undertook around the same time, reviewed the role workforce issues played in underperforming or at-risk programs at two dozen Cabinet departments and large independent agencies. OPM found personnel issues factored in 59 percent of programs on the Government Accountability Office’s “high-risk” list and in 38 percent of reports by inspectors general of “management challenges” within their agencies. Specifically, inadequate staff was cited as a problem in 34 percent of the former and 14 percent of latter. Lack of employee skills, and training and development were also common themes. “The services provided by agencies for the benefit and protection of the American public are dependent upon having the necessary Federal workforce. However, many programs cited capacity shortcomings affecting both the management and mission accomplishment of at least 20 (or 83% of) agencies,” it said. “Gaps in staffing levels were hampering agency performance or placing performance at risk as well as causing stress for overworked employees. Impacted missions and services included those related to public safety, health care, real estate, business ventures, citizen and veteran benefits, law enforcement, and Federal revenue and cost control activities,” the report said…”

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