The Federal Executive Boards (FEBs) were established in 1961 by a Presidential Directive to improve coordination among Federal activities and programs outside Washington. The need for effective coordination among the field activities of Federal departments and agencies was then, and is still, very clear. Approximately 84 percent of all Federal employees work outside the national capital area. Decisions affecting the expenditure of billions of dollars are made in the field. Federal programs have their impact largely through the actions of field representatives of the departments and agencies. In addition, Federal officials outside Washington are the principal contact of the Federal Government with the citizens of this country.
To this end, the FEBs perform highly valuable functions. They provide:
- A forum for the exchange of information between Washington and the field about programs, management strategies, and administrative challenges.
- A point of coordination for the development and operation of Federal programs having common characteristics.
- A means of communication through which Washington can strengthen field understanding and support of management initiatives and concerns
- Federal representation and involvement within their communities.
The FEB’s implement these functions under the direction of the Office of Personnel Management. Examples of their activities are:
- Presidential initiatives on customer service, career transition, and reinventing government.
- The sharing of technical knowledge and resources in procurement, personnel management, information technology, and similar commonly beneficial activities.
- Implementation of the local Combined Federal Campaign.
- The pooling of resources to provide, as efficiently as possible, and at the least possible cost to the taxpayers, common services such as training courses, employee assistance programs, child care centers, blood donor programs, and savings bond drives.
- Encouragement of employee initiative and better performance through special recognition and other incentive programs.
- Emergency operations, such as under hazardous weather conditions; responding to blood donation needs; and communicating related leave policies.
- Recognition of the service of American veterans and dissemination of information relating to programs and benefits available for veterans in the Federal service.
There are currently 28 FEBs located in cities that are major centers of Federal activity. The Boards are located in the following metropolitan areas: Albuquerque-Santa Fe, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Newark, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, St. Louis, San Antonio, San Francisco, and Seattle. The Boards are composed of the Federal field office agency heads and military commanders in these cities.The Federal Executive Board network continues to be a constructive, unifying force within the Federal Government. In the course of its 36 year history, the FEB system has more than proved its value in ensuring a clear and effective communications medium between all levels of government. In cities where FEBs do not exist, another organization of local principal Federal agency officials often exists. These organizations are generally entitled Federal Executive Associations or Councils, and have purposes and objectives similar to FEBs. They do not, however, function within the same formal set of parameters (e.g., officially established by Presidential Memorandum, policy direction and guidance from the Office of Personnel Management, etc.) as do the FEBs.