Does the Senior Executive Service (SES) need to be changed? by Susan Custard
A recent article in the Washington Post highlighted the need for reform of the Federal government’s Senior Executive Service. The article summarized the findings of a report developed jointly by the Partnership for Public Service, and the consulting firm, Booz Allen Hamilton, supports plans being developed by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to overhaul the entire SES program, from selection to development to retirement. The report indicates that the SES, with an outstanding program concept for government executive leadership, has not reached it’s potential for a variety of reasons, including stagnation, lack of applicants and simply not enough attention to development and retention of exceptional leaders.
The report, and OPM’s proposal both recommend significant changes to the SES program, including rotational assignments, and a streamlined selection process. Additionally, the report advocates for development of an “elite” corps of managers that regularly move across agencies. Other recommendations call for OPM to recognize qualified executives for temporary or permanent assignments, especially to address natural disasters, emergencies, administration changes or other policy or technology changes already in place. OPM will begin to review and propose solutions to these issues through the development of an “SES office” that will serve as a clearinghouse for all senior executive issues within the government.