Civil Service Reform:
Changing Times Demand New Approaches
T-GGD-96-31, Oct 12, 1995
GAO discussed some of the issues surrounding the future of the federal civil service. GAO noted that: (1) Congress has periodically updated its provisions in response to changing conditions; (2) reforming the current civil service system involves creating a system that meets the requirements of the current workplace and is flexible enough to respond to future demands; (3) private-sector employers and some government entities are creating personnel systems that are decentralized and are focused more on mission accomplishment and establishing guiding principles rather than prescribing detailed rules and procedures; and (4) if Congress decides to decentralize the civil service system by allowing federal agencies more flexibility to manage their employees, it will have to establish effective oversight and accountability mechanisms to ensure that agencies adhere to civil service principles and meet their established goals.