Skip Navigation

Administrative Services Project

On June 24th, Secretary Vilsack met with USDA Mission Area and agency leadership to initiate a conversation to identify efficiencies while striving toward excellence and superior customer service. As part of this conversation, the agencies were asked to work collaboratively to examine how they receive administrative services and to develop recommendations for improving such services.

The seven administrative service functions included in this discussion include:

  • Civil Rights;
  • Information Technology;
  • Finance and Budget;
  • Human Resources;
  • Homeland Security;
  • Procurement; and
  • Property Management.

To support the collaborative discussion, steering committees have been established to focus on the seven functional areas identified above. In addition, four cross-cutting committees are in the process of being established to support the development of recommendations and to facilitate implementation.

These four cross-cutting committees include:

  • Delegations of Authority;
  • Ways and Means;
  • Employee Locations; and
  • Communications and Employee Engagement.

Each of the USDA Mission Areas has provided representatives to work on each of the steering and cross-cutting committees.

To engage labor in this conversation and evaluation process, the Department is working through the National USDA Labor-Management Forum (USDA Forum) to seek nominees from the unions for representatives to serve on the steering and cross-cutting committees. The labor nominees will serve on the committees and will assist in the process of evaluating recommendations developed by technical working groups reporting to each steering committee.

In addition to engaging labor as part of the committee process, USDA Forum representatives also received a briefing on June 27th to discuss the project. As part of that discussion, the representatives were asked to provide feedback and input on the project overall. That discussion continued on July 21st when an update on the Administrative Services Project was presented at the quarterly USDA Forum meeting. The Forum representatives have provided a number of comments and have voiced concerns regarding the scope and timing of the project.

Overall, the Administrative Services Project is proceeding on an aggressive timetable. Agencies and Departmental Management are working to meet a January 1, 2012, target for initial implementation of the recommendations developed by the technical working groups and steering committees.

The Department will continue to engage labor throughout the process through the existing labor management forum structure and will provide updates on progress going forward.