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Priority Open Recommendations: Office of Personnel Management

GAO-22-105625 Published: Jun 28, 2022. Publicly Released: Jul 05, 2022.
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Fast Facts

Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help improve the federal government. We alert department heads to where they can save the most money, address issues on our High Risk List, or significantly improve government operations.

This report outlines our 15 priority open recommendations for the Office of Personnel Management as of June 2022. For example, some of our recommendations are to improve the tools and guidance OPM provides to agencies to help address employee misconduct and improve employee performance management.

Since our previous letter in July 2021, OPM implemented 2 of our priority recommendations.

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What GAO Found

In July 2021, GAO identified 14 priority recommendations for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Since then, OPM has implemented two of those recommendations. For one recommendation, OPM began gathering and tracking government-wide data on the use of special payment authorities to recruit and retain certain employees. OPM implemented the other recommendation by developing and implementing role-based training requirements for staff who use tools intended to monitor the security of an agency's information systems.

In February 2022, GAO identified three additional priority recommendations for OPM, bringing the total number to 15. These recommendations involve the following areas:

  • improving the federal classification system;
  • making hiring authorities more effective;
  • improving payroll data;
  • addressing employee misconduct and improving performance management; and
  • strengthening IT security and management.

OPM's continued attention to these issues could lead to significant improvements in government operations.

Why GAO Did This Study

Priority open recommendations are the GAO recommendations that warrant priority attention from heads of key departments or agencies because their implementation could save large amounts of money; improve congressional and/or executive branch decision-making on major issues; eliminate mismanagement, fraud, and abuse; or ensure that programs comply with laws and funds are legally spent, among other benefits. Since 2015, GAO has sent letters to selected agencies to highlight the importance of implementing such recommendations.

For more information, contact Michelle Sager at (202) 512-6806 or

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CybersecurityEmployee misconductFederal hiringGS grade classificationHiring policiesHuman capital managementInformation technologyPayrollPerformance managementHigh-risk issues