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OPM announces reorganization

By Ed O'Keefe

Updated 4:17 p.m. ET

The Office of Personnel Management -- the government's human resources agency -- announced Tuesday a reorganization plan that meshes with reforms promised at the start of the Obama administration. But the plan could face significant changes if the final health-care reform bill requires the agency to manage a public health-care program.

For now, the OPM will divide itself into five divisions:

• Employee Services
• Retirement and Benefits
• Merit System Audit and Compliance
• Federal Investigative Services
• Human Resources Solutions

These moves should have little impact on the roughly 1 million civilian federal employees, but OPM Director John Berry told office staff in an e-mail, "Now, all of OPM’s customers -- both internal and external-- will know exactly where to go for answers."

The divisions will be led by a mix of career agency officials and the reorganization will result in no job losses, OPM said. The changes mirror the agency's structure from before the Bush administration, according to veteran congressional staffers familiar with federal personnel issues.

"We began this process in April 2009 and are better positioned for whatever comes our way," Berry said in his e-mail, perhaps eluding to the potential changes tied to health-care reform.

The announcement follows Monday's start date for the agency's new deputy director, Christine Griffin.

The health-care bill that passed the Senate last month establishes a program that offers several national insurance policies administered by private companies but negotiated by OPM. Federal workers unions either oppose the move or have raised concerns that the new program would distract the agency from its main mission of serving the federal workforce.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | January 5, 2010; 3:20 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Workplace Issues  
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