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Portman, Tester introduce Competitive Service Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) introduced legislation on Wednesday to allow federal agencies to streamline the hiring process by cutting duplicative services and saving taxpayer money. The bill is also sponsored by Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.)

The senators’ Competitive Service Act would allow federal agencies to review and select job candidates from other federal agencies’ “best qualified list” of applicants, cutting down on duplication for applicants who have already undergone a competitive assessment process and are certified as eligible for selection. Currently, agencies that have similar hiring needs cannot share such applicant information with one another.

“It’s critical that the federal government has world-class, highly-trained individuals able to deal with sensitive national security issues like cybersecurity and information technology,” Portman stated. “Our bill will streamline the hiring process — enabling agencies to share applicant pools so that qualified individuals will not have to undergo an already slow hiring process time and time again for similar positions across the federal government. This is a commonsense bill to help agencies get the right people in the right jobs in a more efficient manner.”

“This bill makes it easier for qualified folks who are interested in public service to find jobs,” Tester said. “Hiring a strong workforce while reducing duplication in government provides the kind of common sense solution that taxpayers expect.”

This bill is supported by the Partnership for Public Service, National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE), Federal Managers Association (FMA), and the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).

“We are encouraged by this bipartisan legislation which will help agencies quickly fill mission-critical positions and meet the complex challenges facing our nation from cybersecurity to veterans healthcare,” said Max Stier, Partnership for Public Service President and CEO. “This legislation 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. We are grateful to Sens. Tester, Portman, Cardin, Moran and Heitkamp for their leadership on this important effort.”

“As the federal government continues to experience an unprecedented retirement wave, with more than 110,000 employees retiring each year, federal agencies need common sense tools to ensure they are able to hire the best and the brightest. This bill provides them one such tool. Hiring and retaining top talent in this increasingly complex world needs to be a priority for our government, and we appreciate the leadership of Senators Tester, Portman, Cardin, Moran and Heitkamp to streamline the federal hiring process,” said Richard G. Thissen, NARFE President.

“FMA applauds the leadership Senators Tester, Portman, Cardin, Moran and Heitkamp have shown on this common sense reform. Enacting this legislation would provide agencies with access to highly qualified candidates who have gone through a rigorous competitive assessment, and would allow for much greater efficiency in the hiring process. At a time when the federal government is struggling to improve recruitment and retention, this tool would streamline the hiring process and remove a barrier for talented men and women,” said Patricia Niehaus, FMA National President.

“On behalf of the more than 10,000 students who graduate each year with an MPA/MPP degree and a keen desire to enter public service, NASPAA supports the Competitive Service Act of 2015. This bill represents an important step in reducing the many barriers to federal service that well-qualified candidates face. In addition, this legislation will help the immensely skilled graduates who represent the next generation of public service as they navigate the federal hiring process,” said Laurel McFarland, NASPAA Executive Director.

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