Performance-based pay raises for hundreds of Senior Executive Service members have been rescinded, but administration officials say this has nothing to do with the two-year pay freeze.
Performance-based pay raises awarded late last year to about 200 Senior Executive Service members at the Energy Department have been rescinded, according to Federal News Radio.
A memo sent to the affected DOE employees obtained by Federal News Radio said the following:
“It is with deepest regrets that we inform you that the SES pay increase granted to you on [Dec. 19, 2010] must be terminated. The department has been advised by [the Office of Personnel Management] that pay increases should not have been made for the [fiscal 2010] performance cycle.”
Media reports said that OPM directed the rescission of the increases because they violated the prohibition on granting two performance pay increases to SES personnel in one calendar year.
However, sources told GovExec.com that they suspect raises are being revoked as part of the Obama administration’s two-year pay freeze on federal civilian employees.
The administration’s freeze does generally ban agencies from providing “any base salary increases at all to senior executives or senior-level employees, including performance-based increases,” a memo released by the White House in December 2010 states.
Federal employees’ salaries have been a topic of heated debate ever since the administration announced its pay freeze proposal last November.
Earlier this month, OPM Director John Berry said that he wants to strengthen the government’s performance management system before dealing with the issue of federal pay. But Republican lawmakers seem uninterested in waiting around for Berry to act on this promise.
Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's Federal Workforce Subcommittee, intends to launch a website in the near future to solicit suggestions on how to improve the civil service system, the Federal Times reported.
Ross, who held a hearing on federal pay March 9, has expressed interest in implementing a federal pay-for-performance system.
Meanwhile, Congress is back in session this week and political wrangling over how to fund to the government for the remainder of fiscal 2011 is expected to resume. The existing continuing resolution to fund the federal government temporarily expires April 8, leaving lawmakers with roughly two weeks to reach an agreement to avert a shutdown.
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