Prepared Remarks for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan at the OPM Hiring Reform Press Conference

OPM Auditorium
Washington, D.C.
Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Thank you, John.

This is an important day. The economic crisis has reminded all of us how important it is to have a government that is responsive to people and the changing needs of our economy.

But making that kind of government a reality requires bringing the federal workforce into the 21st century. And that is what the comprehensive hiring reform package President Obama enacted this morning is all about.

When I arrived in Washington 15 months ago, it took HUD 139 days on average to go from putting a job announcement out to actually hiring someone.

Even worse than how long it took was the fact that the process itself didn't yield very good results.

In the past, for instance, if HUD wanted to hire new IT staff to analyze the quality of borrowers using FHA loans, our program managers were barely involved in the development of the recruitment tools - from the job description to the kinds of questions used to screen applicants.

Only when the short list of applicants had already been identified did their potential bosses get involved in the hiring process.

You can imagine how, in the midst of a housing crisis, taking four-and-half months to hire new staff could be a bit of a problem. Even if you found the right person for the job, there was no guarantee that they'd still be in the market for a job by the time you could bring them on.

So, with our internal Transformation Initiative, at HUD, we've reduced the number of steps a hiring manager has to take to both begin the hiring process and finalize selections.

We've provided workshops to managers to help them understand their role in the hiring process.

And we've improved the accountability of everyone's role up and down the hiring chain.

We're now down to an average of 79 days having cut the hiring process by more than eight weeks.

And even more important than that, we've seen an improvement in the quality of applicants - people who are better qualified for the jobs we're posting.

With the President's action and OPM's implementation we'll be able to cut it even further - taking advantage of the ability to transition to a resume-based system for vast majority of our hiring, cutting through the red tape so hiring managers can view the full range of qualified applicants and using shared registers that pool our resources. These steps could help us save weeks more.

Coupled with our five-year Strategic Plan that we are releasing this week, these steps will improve our ability to attract and retain a high quality workforce and supporting the President's goal of making government service cool once again.

So, we're excited about what this means for HUD - and for our ability to create a skilled, motivated workforce, a flexible, high performing learning organization, and, above all, an agency that invests not in programs and policies but in the people and places that rely on them.

That's what this effort is about - and it's why I'm proud to be here today.


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