Letter: No fairness under pay for performance systems

Regarding: "Unions say NSPS rules could hurt DOD employees": “Working behind closed doors, supervisors and managers will decide who gets more performance pay,” making the system vulnerable to favoritism and personal biases, they said.

Without a doubt this practice is rampant (favoritism and personal biases), and I have been greatly penalized under NSPS.

Being first in our organization, to be "promoted" from legacy GS-14 (step 6) to NSPS YC-03...I was a warning to those who followed!! In the GS system, my promotion to GS-15 (step 3) would have yielded the minimum 7.5 percent pay increase. Under NSPS, GS-14 and GS-15 are both Pay Band 3, therefore viewed as a "management reassignment" with a maximum pay increase of 5
percent. Our workforce operations personnel said not to worry that management would probably more than compensate for the difference at performance rating time.

Instead, it was more demoralizing and humiliating than I could imagine after 23 years of selfless service.  I received the minimum 3 rating to receive 1 "award share" valued at 1.88
percent of my $96,912 base salary -- $1,824 base salary increase ($70.15 a pay period)!!! This was my first full year to reap some benefit from 16 consecutive grueling months of study to earn two masters degrees -- MBA and Public Administration! As Division Chief for Information Management, I coordinated and lead the massive relocation of over 125 personnel, in addition to overwhelming AF budget submission requirements, as well as launching, evaluating, and reporting on the pilot of a new Budget Formulation system.

Conversely, a colleague (a very good friend) 20 years my junior [who was already a GS-15 when converted to NSPS so didn't experience the pay cut I did] decided to leave Air Force and her Division Chief (YC-03) position to take a YA-03 (didn't want supervisor responsibilities) in the Marine Corps after serving 11 years in the AF. Her division was a single mission with no other duties as assigned, and in spite of her well advertised departure, she received a high enough rating to earn four shares valued at $7,296 ($1,824*4). I don't know remember what her salary to Bonus ratio was, but this example illustrates the unbridled authority managers have to exercise favoritism and personal biases with reckless abandon and without consequences of appeal rights for workers covered by NSPS.

Fairness was definitely not a factor in this example, and sadly my retirement income was severely jeopardized. Yet, my friend has MANY years to earn retirement.



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