Press Release

June 16, 2015
Cardin Introduces Measure to Streamline Competitive Service Act

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), along with a bipartisan group of senate colleagues, Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), today introduced legislation to allow federal agencies to streamline their hiring process, cutting duplicative services and saving taxpayer money.  The 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.


“This legislation is a practical approach that will streamline and improve the hiring process for federal jobs so we can ensure that the most qualified, talented people are hired more quickly. It’s time that the federal government modernize its recruitment process to make it more effective for applicants and more efficient for the federal taxpayers,” said Cardin.  “According to the Government Accountability Office, nearly one-third of federal workers will be eligible to retire by September, 2017.  We need to re-think how the Federal Government hires people if we want to avoid ‘mission critical skills gaps’ likely to be caused by the coming retirement wave.”


“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.”


“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 common sense bill to help agencies get the right people in the right jobs in a more efficient manner.”


“There is no reason communities should lose out on being served by our country’s best and brightest because of undue restrictions,” said Heitkamp. “From veterans, to millennials, to seasoned federal employees – our talented Americans applying for federal jobs to serve this country should not get lost in the mix simply because of unhelpful barriers that inhibit agencies from communicating. In North Dakota, we have a shortage of federal workers and we need to fill those jobs to keep our communities safe and help the private sector continue to grow. This bill would help make sure that highly qualified applicants get the attention they deserve in the hiring process so we can fill more needed positions. I’ll keep pushing for efforts that make it easier to recruit and retain the top talent our nation is counting on, so that together, we can make sure our country is served by agencies that are committed to the nation’s well-being.”


“It is vital that our federal agencies are able to recruit and retain highly-qualified individuals. While each high-level position can only be filled by one successful candidate, qualified applicants are often a great fit for similar positions with other agencies,” Moran said. “Our legislation makes certain our government’s investment in recruiting and screening top talent does not go to waste by allowing agencies to share talent certification lists. This is a cost-effective and efficient way to streamline the cumbersome federal hiring process and make certain the government builds a competent workforce.”


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.


The Competitive Service Act (S.1580) is available online HERE.