WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Senate unanimously approved the Federal Executive Board Authorization Act of 2009 (S. 806) last night. The bill, which was introduced by U.S. Senators George V. Voinovich (R-OH) and Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI) last April, provides for the establishment, administration and funding of Federal Executive Boards (FEBs). 

FEBs were originally established by President Kennedy in 1961 to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of Federal agencies. However, FEBs do not have a congressional charter, and they rely on voluntary contributions from their member agencies for funding. Therefore, in 2007, GAO recommended that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) develop a proposal to address the uncertainty of funding sources for FEBs. Based on that recommendation, this bill addresses that uncertainty.

“I am pleased to see that the Senate unanimously passed this legislation,” Sen. Voinovich said. “President Kennedy showed great foresight when he called for the coordination of federal agencies’ activities in 1961, and FEBs have done a good job since then in coordinating their work. These FEBs need a congressional charter and a set source of funding.”

“Federal Executive Boards play a critical role facilitating federal communication and collaboration outside the Washington, D.C. area, including preparing the federal workforce for emergencies,” Sen. Akaka said. “This important legislation will formally authorize Federal Executive Boards and provide a permanent funding mechanism, which will allow the Boards to continue their good work.”

Specifically, the bill:

  • Calls on the Director of OPM to consult with federal agencies to determine where to establish FEBs and provides that FEBs shall consist of senior officials from agencies in those areas.
  • Requires the Director of OPM to consult with agencies to establish staffing policies for FEBs and designate an agency to staff each FEB, giving preference to agencies staffing FEBs on the date of enactment of the Act; establish communications policies, performance standards and accountability initiatives for FEBs; and administer FEB funding.
  • Requires each FEB to adopt by-laws or other rules for its internal governance, subject to the approval of the Director of OPM; elect a Chairman from among its members; serve as an instrument of outreach; provide a forum for the exchange of information; develop local coordinated approaches to the development and operation of programs that have common characteristics; communicate management initiatives and other concerns from Washington, D.C. to the field; and develop relationships with State and local governments and private sector organizations to help in coordinating activities.
  • Creates a fund for FEB operations which is administered by OPM and consists of contributions from OPM to fund administrative and oversight activities, and contributions from each agency participating in FEBs to fund staff and operations. Each agency’s contribution would be determined by a formula established by the Director, in consultation with agencies and OMB, considering each agency’s number of employees in areas served by FEBs.
  • Requires the Director of OPM to report annually to Congress and agencies on FEB program outcomes and budget matters.