Thompson Introduces Administration?s Freedom to Manage Package to Reform Government

WASHINGTON – Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Fred Thompson (R-TN) introduced legislation today referred to Congress by the Bush Administration seeking to extensively reform the management of the federal government.

Senator Thompson, a leading Congressional advocate for government reform, said, ?I will work with my colleagues on the Governmental Affairs Committee and in Congress to enact this important package, because it includes comprehensive reforms that will make government work better.

?The Governmental Affairs Committee has documented the problems affecting Executive Branch operations for some time, and I am impressed with the President?s attention to these issues at this critical time in our nation?s history,? Thompson added.  ?The President?s package of management reform proposals will allow government managers to carry out their critical responsibilities for the American public more effectively.  It?s obvious the Administration understands how very important government reform is to ensuring that the government can accomplish its varied missions.?
The legislation, which includes the Freedom to Manage Act and the Managerial Flexibility Act,  makes it easier for Executive Branch management to increase accountability, reduce unnecessary costs, and manage for results.  The Managerial Flexibility Act will help the government recruit and retain people with needed skills, increase the flexibility of federal property management, and allow agencies to budget for results.  The Freedom to Manage Act would allow other reform proposals, submitted to the Congress by the Administration, to be considered expeditiously by the Congress.

Transmitted to the Congress on October 15, 2001, the Freedom to Manage Act and the Managerial Flexibility Act will now be a part of Senator Thompson?s and the Governmental Affairs Committee?s efforts to reform the management of the Executive Branch.

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A summary of the legislation follows.

Freedom to Manage Reform Package
A Summary

Freedom to Manage Act of 2001: This legislation establishes a procedure under which heads of departments and agencies can identify statutory barriers to good management. Congress, in turn, would quickly consider those obstacles and act to remove them.
Managerial Flexibility Act of 2001: This legislation provides federal managers with increased flexibility in managing personnel; assigns agencies the responsibility for funding the full government share of the accruing cost of all retirement and retiree health care benefits for Federal employees; and gives agencies greater flexibility in managing property.
Reform Personnel Management: This proposal gives federal agencies and managers increased discretion and flexibility in attracting, managing, and retaining a high quality workforce. It empowers federal agencies to determine when, if, and how they might offer new employee incentives, and it enhances the agencies’ authority to use recruitment, retention, and relocation bonuses to compete better with the private sector. The bill permits agencies to develop alternative personnel systems to attract and hire employees that best fit the position, and it will enable managers to offer early retirement packages. By enacting important changes to the Senior Executive Service, this proposal also permits high-level Federal managers to be treated more like their private sector counterparts, by results-based performance standards that hold them accountable.
Budgeting and Managing for Results — Full Funding for Federal Retiree Costs: This proposal charges federal agencies the full accruing cost of all retirement and retiree health care benefits for federal employees. This proposal is the first government-wide step in linking the full cost of resources used with the results achieved, which will make management in the Executive Branch more performance-oriented. This proposal will not change any of the benefits provided by these programs, and will not change the level of employee contributions.
Reform Federal Property Management: The federal government owns or controls more than 24 million acres of land and facilities, but existing rules restrict the government’s ability to consolidate or release underperforming property. In many instances, federal agencies lack the incentives and authority to renovate the property or tap its equity. This proposal facilitates a total asset management approach to Federal property issues by: improving life cycle planning and management; allowing greater flexibility to optimize asset performance; and providing incentives for better property management. Modernizing these processes enhances government-wide property management, bringing the practices federal agencies use to manage their assets into the 21st century.