April 12, 2017–The White House today directed all federal agencies to develop plans to reduce their civilian workforce, with plans for maximizing the performance of workers due by the end of June and agency reform plans to modernize and streamline operations due in six months. The Office of Management and Budget will develop a government-wide “comprehensive reorganization” that will be included in President Trump’s proposed budget for fiscal 2019.
While today’s announcement references “federal agencies,” the OMB memorandum is addressed to heads of “executive” departments and agencies, which would not normally encompass independent agencies such as the FCC and Federal Trade Commission. OMB said in the memorandum that the reform plans should identify any agency services, activities, or functions that are duplicative, non-essential to its mission, obsolete, better performed at a non-federal level of government, ineffective, or inefficient, as well as agencies, components, or programs that fail to pass a cost-benefit analysis, or that can be “redesigned to better meet the needs of the public and partners in service delivery in a more accessible and effective manner.”
During a press briefing yesterday, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney said that the executive branch hiring freeze imposed by the White House in January (TR Daily, Jan. 23) was being lifted with the issuance of the guidance memorandum, but “that does not mean that the agencies will be free to hire willy-nilly.” He added that under the guidance and the development of the agency plans, “consistent with the President’s priorities in the budget, certain agencies will end up hiring more people. Other agencies will end up paring their FTEs [full-time equivalents] even greater than they would have had during the hiring freeze.” —Lynn Stanton, firstname.lastname@example.org