OPM director to resign

By Brittany Ballenstedt and Alyssa Rosenberg

July 15, 2008

The director of the Office of Personnel Management announced on Tuesday that she will leave in mid-August for a job in the private sector.

OPM Director Linda Springer announced in an e-mail to employees that she will leave Aug. 13 for the private sector, though she did not give specifics on her new position. Deputy Director Howard Weizmann will take over as acting director.

"It has been an honor to be your leader these past three years and to help our agency continue its long record of service to our country and its civilian workforce," Springer wrote in the e-mail. "I know that with your support, the agency is in good hands."

Springer began her career with a 25-year stint in the financial services industry, a tenure that included executive positions at Provident Mutual and Penn Mutual Life Insurance companies. She pursued the same interests in government, serving as controller at the Office of Management and Budget and head of OMB's Office of Federal Financial Management before going to OPM.

Once at OPM, however, Springer broadened her horizons to include a campaign to promote and restore the prestige of federal service in addition to tackling thorny management issues. Among her signature initiatives was a nationwide advertising campaign promoting public service careers and the Career Patterns program, aimed at finding jobs suited to nontraditional work environments and hours. Springer also overhauled the federal retirement system by spearheading the shift from paper-based to electronic processing. The retirement calculator component of the project, however, ran into contracting delays in recent months. She introduced dental, vision, and health savings account benefits to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

Springer did not abandon efficiency and performance issues during her tenure at OPM. She published OPM's annual strategic goals online, and made it possible for the public to track the agency's progress in meeting those goals. Springer also set aggressive targets for priorities such as reducing the time it takes to hire a federal employee and process a background investigation. Since the beginning of 2008, Springer has approved pay-for-performance pilots at the Veterans Health Administration and the National Nuclear Security Administration, advancing another management priority set by the Bush administration.

Springer's dedication to promoting federal employment won her friends at nonprofits like the Partnership for Public Service, at whose events she spoke frequently.

"The Partnership is extremely grateful to Linda Springer for her dedicated service in a critical position at a critical time," said Max Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership.

The Partnership's relationship with OPM is likely to remain strong under Weizmann, who came to the agency from his position as president of the Private Sector Council, the Partnership's organization that provides connections between government agencies and relevant industry leaders. He was confirmed by the Senate as deputy director in 2007. Prior to his work at the Partnership, Weizmann led the human resources and European operations for Digex, the videoconferencing and telecommunications company that is now a part of Verizon, and also worked at Watson Wyatt Worldwide, the human resources consulting firm. Human resources is a family business for Weizmann, too: he and his wife, Jane Weizmann, co-authored a book on employee management titled Rewards and Business Strategy: People, Pay and Performance (CCH Inc., 2000).