|Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Kiran Ahuja to be the Director of OPM|
SUMMARY: Today, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing on the nomination of Kiran Ahuja to be the next Director of the Office of Personnel Management. The Committee is expected to vote on the nomination next week.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing today on the nomination of Kiran Ahuja to be the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Currently, Ms. Ahuja is the CEO of Philanthropy Northwest, a regional philanthropic network spanning six northwestern states. She previously served as OPM's chief of staff 2015 to 2017 and as executive director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the Obama White House. As part of that work, she led efforts to increase access to federal services for underserved communities of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
During the hearing, Senators asked Ms. Ahuja about recruiting more cyber professionals into the federal government as well as OPM’s IT efforts following the 2015 data breach and the need to move from a paper-based retirement system. They also asked about addressing poor performers. In response, Ms. Ahuja said that it can be challenging to manage poor performance, but that she has found that poor performance is usually caused due to a lack of employee engagement, a mismatch of skills and talents for the position, or a lack of clear metrics to measure performance.
There were also questions about telework and remote work. When asked about bringing employees back to the office following the pandemic, she said that she would balance the safety of the workforce and the obligations agencies have to the American public. Following questions on permanent remote work and telework, Ms. Ahuja stated her support for both. She noted that everyone, not just the federal government, is rethinking the nature of work and the opportunities that telework and remote work provide.
It is expected that Ms. Ahuja’s nomination will be voted on by the Committee next week. I will keep you updated on any developments.