Connolly-Wittman Competitive Service Act Passes House

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Provided by Congressman Gerry Connolly’s and Congressman Rob Wittman’s Offices

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Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), joined by Congressman Rob Wittman (R-VA), welcomed passage of the Competitive Service Act of 2015 (S. 1580) in the House yesterday. The bipartisan, bicameral legislation will strengthen and streamline the federal hiring process and authorize federal agencies to hire candidates from shared competitive service certificates. Connolly and Wittman introduced the House companion measure (H.R. 2827).

Empowering agencies to share information about the most qualified job candidates is a win-win for applicants and agency human resource professionals – enabling the federal government to efficiently recruit the best and the brightest while saving taxpayer dollars.

“Our bipartisan legislation makes common-sense reforms to an antiquated and cumbersome hiring system that hinders our nation’s ability to efficiently hire the most qualified candidates into federal service,” said Connolly, the Senior Democratic Member of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Government Operations. “Further this is an important step in a more comprehensive effort to modernize the federal hiring process to ensure we can recruit the next generation of civil servants.”

“Our national security depends on the federal government’s ability to recruit, train, and keep employees who are able to address evolving technological and cyber threats,” Wittman said. “We can’t expect to do that with archaic hiring practices. The Competitive Service Act creates a platform for agencies to share information about the most qualified candidates and eliminates a cumbersome and duplicative process. This is the kind of reform taxpayers are looking for from Washington, and I’m proud to be a part of that progress.”

Under current law, agencies are prohibited from sharing information about federal job applicants who have competed for a given position and been determined to be among the best qualified for the job. PWL Thus, when agencies identify finalists for a single vacant position in a highly competitive field, such as cybersecurity, no other agency can leverage these efforts and access these exceedingly qualified applicants.

The Competitive Service Act would fix this inefficiency by promoting cross-agency hiring, which brings multiple benefits. As Max Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, said in a letter to the Oversight and Government Reform Committee in support of this legislation, “This bill is an important first step in addressing the cumbersome hiring process. It also represents a common-sense way of treating our government as a single organization trying to achieve shared goals rather than a disconnected collection of many agencies.”

Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), introduced the Competitive Service Act of 2014 (S. 1580) in the United States Senate, along with cosponsors, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sen Michael Enzi (R-WY), Sen Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Sen Rob Portman (R-OH).



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