Letter to the editor
Following are responses to an FCW.com poll question that asked: "Do you favor dividing the Senior Executive Service into a corps of managers and a corps of technical experts?"
Executive positions already are managed and compensated differently across various federal agencies. Consider the Senior Intelligence Executive Service, the Senior Foreign Service and the entirely different grading schemes within the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Public Health Service.
No separate super-grade system is needed for civil service technicians. Executives are executives. They may have once been skilled practitioners with vast experience on top of graduate education, but as executives their roles are different.
For example, a health care organization may require its managing executive to have credentials as a medical professional. But such individuals are no longer serving as doctors, specialists or advance practice nurses — they are executives with significant responsibility requiring different skills above what is required to manage teams of medical peers or projects.
That executive role requires hard-to-find people who must be paid differently to attract and retain them. Good technicians should be rewarded for their annual performance in a system of liberal bonuses and locally adjusted pay scales, not a fixed set of super-pay grades based on tenure.
The major problem is that the civil service system tends to reward longevity equally across the board vs. selectively incentivizing above-average performance, successfully fostering change and achieving measurable results.
The system does not allow for discriminating between the few truly exceptional performers and the middle-of-the-road folks who show up and basically do what's required.
No. Do not create another fixed structure of super-paid technicians.
Name withheld by request