OMB Directive M-17-22: New Clock Tickin’ PLUS Earlier Deadlines

OMB has put a directive in place to reform federal agencies. The author provides details about this plan and has provided some important supporting documents accompanying the directive.

Last week, I wrote an article about the September deadline set by the Administration in Executive Order 13781 for an Agency by Agency Plan to reform and restructure the Federal government. That order was followed by OMB Directive M-17-22 providing more detail and shorter deadlines for Agency submissions.

According to the directive:

By June 30, 2017, agencies will provide OMB:

  1. A high-level draft of their Agency
  2. Progress on near-term workforce reduction actions; and
  3. A plan to maximize employee performance.

OMB, if you didn’t know is the Office of Management and Budget. According to its website, the Agency’s mission “is to assist the President in meeting his policy, budget, management and regulatory objectives and to fulfill the agency’s statutory responsibilities.”

Mick Mulvaney, OMB’s Director, certainly surprised a number of long-time DC watchers, players and workers who did not expect as tight and savvy a series of instructions from an OMB Director who, while possessing considerable legislative and very high academic credentials, had never before operated within the Executive Branch.

get copies of the nine appendices and they appear below.

Don’t Wait for OMB

According to Appendix 1, on June 30, 2017, Agencies are directed to:

Submit to OMB RMO and OMB Office of Performance and Personnel Management (PPM):

  1. Preliminary areas for Agency Reform Plan
  2. Progress on near-term actions to reduce the size of the civilian Federal workforce
  3. Plan for maximizing employee performance
  4. High-level draft strategic plan (draft strategic goals and objective areas)
  5. Potential near-term/immediate actions

What Will a Plan Look Like?

Appendix 4 allows agencies to organize the plan by bureaus/components, legislative vs. executive action or other system but each plan must include:

  1. Proposals in one or more of the following four categories (additional detail in the following section):
    1. Eliminate activities
    2. Restructure or merge activities
    3. Improve organizational efficiency and effectiveness
    4. Workforce management: Improve performance, increase accountability, and reduce costs/size (must be included in all plans)
  2. For each proposal, the following information:
    • What: Short explanation of the existing issue and rationale for the proposed change (1-4 paragraphs)
    • Why: Projected outcomes, both positive and negative, and affected stakeholders (including other agencies when applicable); cite evidence and evaluations where available (1-3 paragraphs)
    • How: Implementation timeline and risks, including administrative challenges; capacity needed for implementation; and any impacts on personnel, physical assets, and other agencies where applicable (1-3 paragraphs)
    • Costs & Savings: Projected implementation costs, savings and/or cost avoidance over five years, as well as ten years where feasible
    • Statutory, Regulatory, and Administrative Analysis: Agencies shall consult with their General Counsels and provide an analysis of the underlying statutory, regulatory, and other legal authorities at issue, litigation risk, and whether the proposal requires legislation or can be done administratively. If the proposal requires legislation, agencies should note if the legislative change would be necessary in appropriations language or in authorization language.
    • Performance Goals: At least one indicator the agency can use to track the proposal, along with a target and implementation date.

There’s a lot of information in the Directive and its appendices. Appendix 8, for example, lists five success stories that OMB wants agencies to emulate. A number of references are made to CXO Councils which you may study up on at the link to GSA’s website identifying all of them except the CHCOs (Chief Human Capital Officers). The website for CHCO Council is at The CHCOs have a full council meeting on May 9. Should be a fun meeting for attendees.

I think the Directive and its appendices are a must read for every Federal executive, contractor, union, employee, media person and everyone who wants to see what government’s future might hold.

If you read my articles, you know I look for appropriate quotes to catch the flavor of the issue in an article. I can’t help but see the coming months reflected by a quote from that great philosopher and other things, Jerry Lee Lewis, who said it so well, “we ain’t fakin, whole lotta shakin goin on.”

Any opinion you read above is mine only and does not reflect that of FedSmith, any client, my employer, or other person I know. If you need to get in touch, use the email form on my FedSmith author’s webpage.

OMB Directive M-17-22 Appendices

About the Author

Bob Gilson is a consultant with a specialty in working with and training Federal agencies to resolve employee problems at all levels. A retired agency labor and employee relations director, Bob has authored or co-authored a number of books dealing with Federal issues and also conducts training seminars.