Policy

At the Partnership for Public Service, the Government Affairs team seeks to transform the way government works.

Recent Priorities Staff

We advocate for greater employee engagement while maintaining employee accountability and high performance. We support efforts to recruit and retain top talent, strengthen the Senior Executive Service, promote innovative approaches to governing and improve the government’s customer service capabilities. Through a high-functioning, effective and innovative government that responds to its citizens, federal employees can better serve the American people.

RECENT

Employee Morale and the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey

The Partnership has been vocal about the need to modernize the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, the best available tool for measuring employee satisfaction and commitment in the workforce, by giving OPM statutory authority to conduct the survey, sort satisfaction data by occupation, and turn data around to agencies faster.

Read More

Improving the Customer Experience

The Partnership supports modernizing the Paperwork Reduction Act to allow agencies to collect voluntary user feedback from citizens and create a scorecard to share transparent data with the public on the quality of agency services. Together, these improvements can help improve agency service delivery.

Read More

Civil Service Reform

The federal government’s outdated personnel system hinders the ability of agencies to effectively recruit, hire and manage their workforces. The Partnership is a vocal advocate for reforming and streamlining the civil service system to empower employees and enable agencies to effectively accomplish their missions.

Read More

OUR PRIORITIES

Employee recognition and engagement

A highly engaged federal workforce has a positive impact on agency productivity, service quality and mission performance. The Partnership, through the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government® rankings, educates Congress on the importance of engaging the federal workforce and the state of employee satisfaction and commitment in agencies.

To ensure that engagement remains a priority for policymakers, we support updating statute to require agencies to participate in the annual OPM-conducted survey that collects data by occupation. Congress can also make sure that agencies use the data by making it available more quickly and requiring all supervisors, managers and executives to be held accountable for employee satisfaction and commitment.


Employee accountability and performance

Congress and the public are right to be concerned about misconduct and poor performance in the federal workforce. However, it is just as important that Congress understand and protect the unique due process rights that are the foundation of government’s nonpolitical, merit-based personnel system. Congress should avoid a shift toward “at-will” employment and prevent a return to the politicized spoils system.

The Partnership is committed to providing policymakers with a middle ground—solutions that address employee performance issues and respect the merit-based nature of federal employment. These include training and supporting supervisors and managers to enhance employee performance, improving accountability to better employee engagement, and rethinking how leaders can use the preexisting rules and processes to remove employees who are ineffective or guilty of misconduct.


Strengthening the Senior Executive Service

Our government relies on the roughly 7,000 executives who make up the Senior Executive Service to manage and deliver programs and policies critical to the American people, while serving as a bridge between political appointees and rank-and-file federal employees. Yet there is much more that could be done to ensure that government recruits, retains and rewards the best executive talent.

The Partnership seeks reforms to strengthen the SES and ensure agencies are able to bring in and keep the very best leaders for the future. In addition, we strive for broader structural reform of the SES to enable our government to operate as a single entity, leveraging executives as enterprise-wide assets who can work across agencies and sectors to solve complex challenges.


Federal hiring reform

For government to perform at its best, agencies must be able to fill open positions with top talent. Unfortunately, the current hiring system is slow, inefficient, opaque and inadequately suited to hiring specialized talent, particularly in STEM fields. Government as a whole also underutilizes opportunities, like internships and noncompetitive hiring authorities, to bring in talent. Recent efforts, such as the Partnership-supported Competitive Service Act, have helped, but there is still much work to do.

The Partnership believes federal hiring is badly in need of long-term, systemic reform, which only Congress is capable of producing. This comprehensive reform should create a unified but flexible hiring system in which all agencies operate under the same set of authorities, offer permeability between the public and private sector and build innovative HR teams that act as strategic advisors to agency leadership. Implementing these reforms, while respecting core principles of the civil service (veterans’ preference, merit-based selection, diversity and equal opportunity) is the surest way to build a workforce with the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to serve the American people.


Cybersecurity workforce

The need for strong cybersecurity in federal agencies has become increasingly clear in the wake of recent significant data breaches, which compromised the personal information of millions of Americans, including federal employees. Putting in place stronger security will require a large, diverse and highly skilled cybersecurity workforce that can quickly and effectively prevent, respond to and mitigate future cyber challenges.

The Partnership supports a range of legislative efforts to strengthen the federal cybersecurity workforce, from broad reform of the federal hiring and personnel systems to more targeted approaches, like creating a federal civilian cybersecurity reserve corps, expanding cybersecurity internships and scholarships, and using new and innovative methods to identify and hire talented cyber workers.


Customer service

Citizen views of government are typically derived largely from the direct interactions they have with government agencies. When agencies deliver high-quality services to citizens, trust in government goes up. Compared to the reputation of other industries, however, the federal government lags significantly behind.

The Partnership supports efforts to enhance customer service and empower citizens to obtain the information and services they need. To do that, agencies must greatly improve the quality and timeliness of the data they use to measure and improve interactions with citizens. Congress should mandate that agencies collect and publically report comparable customer experience data on the most important services and interactions, while also changing statute to give agencies the flexibility to collect voluntary feedback from citizens on the quality of services.


Innovation

Government typically finds itself behind the curve when it comes to implementing new ideas and processes to deliver better results and create value for citizens. New business models, process improvements and technology all offer paths to a more innovative, forward-looking government. Congress has made a great deal of progress in recent years toward institutionalizing new and innovative practices, from the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act to the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act.

The Partnership believes there is still more that can be done to make government more effective and efficient. Expanding the use of shared services to increase the efficiency of agency mission-support functions, institutionalizing evidence-based policymaking and making better use of information technology all have the potential to greatly improve the quality and effectiveness of government services. The Partnership is a thought leader in government innovation and supports efforts in Congress to further innovate in the public sector.


Presidential transition

To establish a smoother presidential transition, Congress must continue to improve the processes and laws that govern presidential transitions and ensure the timely appointment and confirmation of key government leaders. The Partnership, through its Center for Presidential Transition, is committed to ensuring the next president and administration is ready to govern from day one. We seek to engage policymakers in a bipartisan dialogue around transition process reform and stress the importance of early preparation for presidential appointees.

Through legislation such as the Pre-Election Presidential Transition Act of 2010 and Presidential Transitions Improvements Act of 2015, Congress has, with Partnership support, taken important steps to streamline the number of positions subject to Senate confirmation and to make resources available to presidential transition teams before Election Day. The Partnership also endorses key changes, such as streamlining the forms used in the confirmation process and creating additional capacity for Senate committees to confirm a high volume of nominees.

POLICY STAFF

Card image cap

Kristine Simmons

As the head of the Government Affairs team, Kristine leads the Partnership’s education and advocacy work on Capitol Hill. Her responsibilities include developing and executing strategies to improve presidential transitions and reform the civil service system.

Email Kristine
Card image cap

Troy Cribb

As director of policy on the Government Affairs team, Troy works to develop proposals and strategies for improving the effectiveness and efficiency of management across the federal government and revitalizing the federal civil service.

Email Troy
Card image cap

Andrew Lobel

Andrew supports the Partnership’s efforts in Congress to improve employee engagement. This includes the use of the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government rankings on the Hill and working to improve presidential transition planning.

Email Andrew
Card image cap

Dan Durak

Dan supports the team’s legislative priorities relating to customer service, performance measurement, data transparency and regulatory reform. He also serves as a liaison with Congress and other teams at the Partnership.

Email Dan
Card image cap

Courtney Liss

Courtney coordinates Hill outreach, oversees the communications work around the organization’s legislative priorities and works with our external partners on a variety of projects

Email Courtney