NAPA: Pay for performance

An independent think tank is the latest organization to endorse a new way of giving pay raises to white-collar federal workers — by rewarding them for good work instead of how many years they have been punching a clock.

In a new report, officials from the National Academy of Public Administration said performance-based pay should be the standard for workers in the 21st century — rewarding excellence instead of ignoring it.

"People — in this case, public servants — are the lifeblood of any organization, and the federal government will not serve its taxpayers well if it cannot attract, reward and keep the best workers," said NAPA President C. Morgan Kinghorn.

NAPA's conclusions confirm the opinion of Office of Personnel Management officials — that the General Schedule salary system, which has been in effect since the 1930s, is an antiquated way to pay federal workers.

Instead, NAPA officials suggested that pay banding, the term for the new system, would provide equity across government occupations and better management control. It also would give agencies the flexibility to pay more for hard-to-find skills and attract workers who move from the higher-paying private sector into the government.

The change will be hard to put into effect because it represents a major shift in how managers control salaries.

"From an organizational standpoint, the change can be characterized as a move from an entitlement culture to a performance-earned culture," according to the NAPA report.

But "it is unlikely that managers and employees will think differently about performance as long as the GS system is in place," the report stated.

Union representatives disagree.

"We have ongoing issues with the rush to dismantle the GS system," said Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union. "We're not opposed to pay for performance if there were a system fully funded and credible to employees. But if it is not fully funded and credible, it will fail."

"The most vivid difference between federal and private-sector practices in the United States is the lack of financial rewards," according to the report. "When companies undertake new strategies, financial rewards commonly are part of the strategy."

But that is not the case with the current system. "Critics contend that the system has contributed to an entitlement culture," the report stated. "It was not conceived — nor was it administered — to support performance initiatives."

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • Social network, census

    5 predictions for federal IT in 2017

    As the Trump team takes control, here's what the tech community can expect.

  • Rep. Gerald Connolly

    Connolly warns on workforce changes

    The ranking member of the House Oversight Committee's Government Operations panel warns that Congress will look to legislate changes to the federal workforce.

  • President Donald J. Trump delivers his inaugural address

    How will Trump lead on tech?

    The businessman turned reality star turned U.S. president clearly has mastered Twitter, but what will his administration mean for broader technology issues?

  • Login.gov moving ahead

    The bid to establish a single login for accessing government services is moving again on the last full day of the Obama presidency.

  • Shutterstock image (by Jirsak): customer care, relationship management, and leadership concept.

    Obama wraps up security clearance reforms

    In a last-minute executive order, President Obama institutes structural reforms to the security clearance process designed to create a more unified system across government agencies.

  • Shutterstock image: breached lock.

    What cyber can learn from counterterrorism

    The U.S. has to look at its experience in developing post-9/11 counterterrorism policies to inform efforts to formalize cybersecurity policies, says a senior official.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group