Senator offering salve for workforce

Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) plans to introduce legislation this fall that would help alleviate agencies' hiring, retention and other workforce pains.

The federal government is in "dire need of a unified strategy to rebuild the civil service," Voinovich said Aug. 1 at the Excellence in Government 2001 conference in Washington, D.C.

The workforce is aging, retirements are expected to rise, and senior executives are affected by "pay compression" that leads to retention and other problems, he said. Senior executives' salaries are capped so that many are making the same amount.

Voinovich said he plans to introduce some workforce reforms after Congress returns from its August recess. The legislative package would create a chief human resources officer, dedicate money in the budget for training programs and improve the hiring process and the benefits offered to federal employees.

Buy-in and cooperation are essential. Any reforms to address the human capital crisis, he said, "cannot be successfully implemented without the blessing of federal employees."

Voinovich said he expects Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) to hold hearings this fall evaluating federal workers' compensation, including pay for senior executives. However, simply increasing pay is not enough to improve recruitment and retention, Voinovich said. "Give federal workers respect and recognition" for jobs done well, he said.

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