Davis supporting call for bonuses

Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) is supporting what appears to be a suggestion by Mark Forman, the Office of Management and Budget's associate director for information technology and e-government, that federal employees who work on top-performing e-government initiatives receive bonuses.

The notion of rewarding "the federal managers of the two most successful e-government projects with a substantial bonus pool if the projects succeed...may be an effort that is worthy of some form of emulation in all government agencies," Davis wrote in a letter Feb. 8 to Office of Personnel Management Director Kay Coles James.

OMB is developing incentives for the interagency teams that lead the 24 e-government initiatives, Forman noted at a press briefing Feb. 5.

"It takes a mixture of some carrot and some stick," he said, adding that the mixture might include offering the two top-performing initiatives a bonus derived from a portion of the $45 million requested for fiscal 2003 for the e-government fund.

Davis, chairman of the House Government Reform Committee's Technology and Procurement Policy Subcommittee, backs the idea of using "pay for performance" to attract and retain high-tech workers in the federal government, according to a spokesman.

"Rep. Davis believes that, like the private sector, government should reward those employers who bring greater value to their organization," said David Marin, Davis' press secretary. "This reinforces a culture of achievement and it goes a long way toward making the government an employer of choice."

There is some question, however, whether Forman meant to suggest that the bonus for top performance be given to the program managers for addition to the program's funding, or that the bonus should go to individual workers as additional compensation.

Davis' understanding is that the bonuses would go to the personnel teams on each initiative, Marin said. OMB did not respond to requests for clarification of the issue.

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