Agency Realignments

I-2020-27


Effective Date: Expiration Date: Chapters:
Nov. 25, 2020 When Superseded 1   8   9   11   36   38  

Overview

The DC Department of Human Resources (DCHR) is releasing the following guidance to agencies regarding agency realignments. This issuance provides guidance on the approval process, how agencies can request a realignment, and what documents are required for submitting a request.


Realignments

For the District of Columbia Government, a realignment occurs when an agency’s internal structure is adjusted to better align an agency’s business strategy, organizational capabilities, resources, and systems, to best support the agency’s purpose. When an agency is properly aligned, its leadership determines its vision and mission, which drives the agency’s organizational strategy. The resulting strategy guides decision-making, human resource development, service delivery, behavior and culture. Aligning these elements leads to a high-performing agency that is efficient, effective, and successful.

Various conditions such as financial stress, enactment of new laws, creation of a new administration or division, and technological changes may slowly move an agency out of alignment. For example, declines in municipal revenue may cause an agency to experience financial stress, which may result in decisions being primarily driven by financial concerns versus the agency’s mission. Such misalignments often result in poor employee morale and negatively impact government services. Therefore, agencies must routinely evaluate their alignment and make adjustments that optimizes service delivery to District residents and improves employee experience.

Realignments versus Reorganizations

This issuance provides procedural guidance for implementing an agency realignment. However, the same conditions that may create the need for an agency realignment may also prompt considerations for a “reorganization.”

A “reorganization” is not the same as a “realignment.” For example, a “reorganization” may occur when the Mayor determines it is necessary to restructure multiple agencies, whereby functions are moved, consolidated, abolished, or created among two or more agencies. Unlike an agency realignment, a “reorganization” is subject to the Council of the District of Columbia review and must be adopted by legislative action.

Agency Human Resources’ Role

Agency Human Resources (HR) plays an essential role in the realignment process. HR will serve as the primary agency unit which identifies and discusses the potential need for realignment with agency leadership and management.

Prior to beginning any realignment, HR should:

  1. Fully evaluate the existing agency mission, operations, and organizational structure and speak with agency leadership to identify any potential alignment challenges;
  2. Determine whether a realignment is the best course of action to address the agency’s objectives;
  3. If a realignment is warranted, secure leadership buy-in by presenting the options, including risks and benefits, to agency director, senior staff, and deputy mayor;
  4. Determine how much time the agency has to implement the realignment;
  5. Determine whether the realignment will result in a reduction in force due to the elimination of position(s); and  
  6. Develop a plan for identifying and executing a communication and notification strategy to all employees potentially impacted by the realignment.

For assistance with the evaluation process or communication plans, agency HR Advisors may reach out to DCHR’s Classification team for support.


Process

After agency leadership evaluates their current operations with their HR Advisors and concludes that a realignment is necessary, the agency must follow the realignment planning process:

  1. Draft Realignment Plan. Agencies must draft and submit a comprehensive realignment plan. The plan will include (but is not limited to) an agency’s mission and function statement, current and proposed organizational charts, cross walk, staffing pattern, position descriptions, and other relevant documentation related to the agency’s internal structure.
    NOTE: When unionized employees will be impacted by the anticipated realignment, agencies should consult the Office of Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining and, with their guidance, include labor representative in the realignment development process to the greatest extent possible.
  2. Obtain Concurrences and Approval.
    Step 1. Budget Agencies must first consult the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) on their proposed realignment plan and obtain concurrence from the Agency’s Fiscal Officer. 
    Step 2. Deputy Mayor – The proposed realignment plan must be submitted to the appropriate Deputy Mayor or Assistant City Administrator for pre-approval. 
    Step 3.  DCHR – The proposed realignment plan must be reviewed and approved by the Director of DCHR. 
    Step 4. City Administrator – The last step in the review and approval process is the submission of the plan to the City Administrator.
  3. Communication. Once approved, agencies must routinely communicate to all levels of the agency the proposed changes, the reason for those changes, and what can be expected in the near and long term to all levels of the agency. This includes communicating with all leadership, managers, supervisors, employees, and any labor representatives.
  4. Position Descriptions (PDs). The PDs submitted with the realignment plan will take some time to assemble and create and must be included with the plan when it’s submitted to DCHR.  Therefore, HR should begin this step as soon as its determined that a realignment is warranted.
  5. Prepare Personnel Actions. After the realignment is approved, the agency must prepare all necessary Personnel Action Requests (PARs) for implementing the realignment and forward all supporting documentation to DCHR.
  6. Implement Realignment. DCHR processes the PARs, implementing the realignment.
    • Reduction-in-Force. Depending on the nature of the realignment, some restructuring actions may result in the abolition of positions, which can result in a reduction in force (RIF). Agencies may only initiate RIF actions after the City Administrator approves the plan; and agencies must comply with the District government personnel RIF procedures and regulations.

 


Draft Plan

Agencies must develop a realignment plan for submission to OCFO, their Deputy Mayor, DCHR, and ultimately OCA.

Getting Started

The overall content of an agency’s realignment plan must be persuasive to each of the necessary stakeholders. Some key areas to consider when developing your realignment plan include:

  • Agency mission: What does your agency do and why?
  • Strategy: How is your agency trying to achieve its mission?
  • Resources: What does your agency need to achieve its goals?
  • Organizational Capability: What makes your agency’s operations efficient? What people, positions, structure, processes, and culture are currently in place that enable your agency to meet its goals?
  • Management: What supervisory mechanisms are in place to deliver the performance goals your agency needs? This includes management infrastructure, operations, and strategy in addition to agency information systems and employee performance management.
  • Realignment benefits: What benefits will the agency gain from conducting a realignment such as cost savings or improved lines of supervisory reporting?

Realignment Plan Documents

To be reviewed and considered, an agency realignment plan must include the following:

  1. Decision Point Memorandum to the City Administrator. Is a memorandum from the agency head to the City Administrator through the Agency Fiscal Officer, the applicable Deputy Mayor or Assistant City Administrator, and the Director of DCHR. The memorandum must be a persuasive document which considers varying audiences and stakeholders. The memorandum must clearly explain the needs, benefits, proposed changes, and other considerations; such as, risks of the proposed realignment. (See Attachment 1 – Sample Decision Point Memorandum.)  
  2. Mission Statement. A statement that clarifies the what, who, and why of an agency. It includes a general description of the agency, its function, and its objectives. (See Attachment 2 – Sample Mission Statement.)
  3. Functional Statements. Are statements that clearly define the purpose and responsibilities of each level (e.g., Department, Administration, Division, Branch, Section, or Unit) within the agency. A functional statement is required for each level of the agency. (See Attachment 3 – Sample Functional Statements.) Agency levels may be organized as seen in this chart.
  4. Organizational charts (current and proposed). A graphical representation of the organization as it currently exists and as it will appear under the proposed realignment. The organizational charts should reflect positions as opposed to individual employees. The charts should illustrate: 
    1. All levels and components of the agency;
    2. All positions by pay plan, series, grade, position number, and official title within each component;
    3. Relationships between levels of responsibility; and
    4. Relationships between technical, administrative, and management roles.
  5. Realignment Crosswalk – A listing of all the impacted current positions (encumbered and vacant) correlated to a list of all proposed positions after the realignment. Each listing on both the current list and the corresponding proposed list must include the official title, pay plan, series, grade, position number, collective bargaining unit, and functional area. 
    Note: Realignment crosswalks cannot include “acting” positions. (See Attachment 5 – Sample Realignment Crosswalk.)
  6. Staffing Pattern (Proposed). Listing of the name of incumbent (or indiciate vacant), position number, and types of positions allocated to an agency.

    1.  Positions are listed at current grade level for incumbent and full performance level for vacancies, and the listing includes the title, pay plan, series, grade level, and position number of positions broken out by functional area.

    2. Agency must ensure that no position titles on the staffing pattern are shown as “Acting.”

  7. Position Descriptions (PDs). A listing of all the impacted current positions (encumbered and vacant) correlated to a list of all proposed positions after the realignment. Each listing on both the current list and the corresponding proposed list must include the official title, pay plan, series, grade, position number, job code, collective bargaining unit, and functional area. (See Attachment 6: Position Descriptions.)

    PDs supporting a realignment must meet the following criteria:

    • Accurate. Each PD must accurately reflect the actual duties and responsibilities of the job after the realignment.
    • Current. All PDs must have been re-certified within the last three years.
    • Recertified, if needed. PDs expiring within 12 months must be re-certified in block 23, Position Review, of the Optional Form 8, prior to submission to DCHR. 
  8. Realignment Forms. The plan must also include original (signed) D.C. Standard Form No. 4-PFR Approval-Realignment Approval and D.C. Standard Form No. 4-PFR-REALIGN-Agency Proposal for Realignment (“PFR”).

Submit Plan for Approval

After an agency has all the required documents, submit the plan to DCHR for approval. The documents should be organized into a single PDF file, with bookmarks denoting the required sections.

Submitting the Plan to DCHR

Proposed realignment plans must be submitted to DCHR electronically. Navigate to https://dchr.in.dc.gov and navigate to the HR Advisors Support Center. Under “Services,” select Realignment Plan Approval Request. Agencies will be prompted to supply basic information about the realignment plan, and to attach a copy of the realignment plan.

Timeline Once Received by DCHR

An agency may plan to implement a simple realignment within 45 workdays of submission to DCHR, provided the plan includes all required materials and requires no revisions. The following represents an approximate approval timeline and corresponding tasks following DCHR’s receipt of a realignment plan:

Day 1-7 Day 8-20 Day 21-37 Day 38-45

Initial submission to DCHR

DCHR will meet with the agency to discuss the final approval process in terms of procedure and timing

DCHR reviews realignment

DCHR reviews the realignment materials to ensure conformity with requirements, collaborating with the agency, as needed.

OCA review and approval

DCHR transmits complete realignment plan, along with all necessary endorsements, to the Office of the City Administrator for final review and approval.

Implementation

Upon approval by the City Administrator, the agency will prepare all necessary Personnel Action Requests (PARs) to be processed pursuant to the plan. DCHR will then process the PARs, implementing the plan.

At any time during the process shown above, DCHR may require additional meetings with the agency to discuss concerns/recommendations relating to the realignment.


References

This issuance was developed using the following reference materials:

  1. Classification – Program Maintenance, 6-B DCMR § 1109.6
  2. “Realignment”, 6-B DCMR § 1100.1
  3. “Reorganization”, 6-B DCMR § 1100.1
  4. Simple Flow for Thinking About Organizational Alignment, Jeff Boss, Forbes Media LLC (January 21, 2018).

Attachments

  1. Attachment 1 – Sample Decision Point Memorandum
  2. Attachment 2 - Sample Mission Statement
  3. Attachment 3 – Sample Functional Statements
  4. Attachment 4 – Sample Organizational Charts
  5. Attachment 5 – Sample Realignment Crosswalk
  6. Attachment 6 – Sample Position Descriptions
  7. Attachment 7 - Agency Proposal for Realignment PFR Submission Form
  8. Attachment 8 - Realignment Approval Form

Issued by Ventris C. Gibson, Director D.C. Department of Human Resources on Nov. 25, 2020, 2:22 p.m.