DHS pay plan: Deal or no deal

Bill would repeal department’s authorization for a pay-for-performance system.

The House Homeland Security Committee has approved a measure that would throw out the Homeland Security Department’s fledgling pay system in what could be the first shot across the bow from the Democratic-controlled Congress to reverse pending changes in how federal employees are paid.An amendment to DHS’ fiscal 2008 authorization bill, proposed by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), would repeal authorization for the personnel system created under the 2002 Homeland Security Act. That overall legislation, which the committee approved March 28, could provide a blueprint for further action by congressional appropriators.In offering the amendment, Lee described the new DHS personnel system and its implementing legislation as “a litany of failure” that guts employee due-process rights and jeopardizes the agency’s ability to retain a workforce capable of accomplishing its mission.Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said the legislation would put “the nail in the coffin of a personnel system that would bring serious harm to DHS employees.” NTEU helped draft the language in Lee’s amendment, union officials said.Earlier this year, DHS officials decided to scale back departmentwide implementation of the system that links pay increases to job performance. Officials decided to focus instead on a much smaller implementation. Several federal district court and appeals court injunctions have prevented DIS from moving ahead with a full system implementation. Bush administration officials hoped that system would be the model for a governmentwide pay system based on job performance.“I think the idea was that [the DHS system] would create the tipping point for the rest of the government,” said John Kamensky, senior fellow at the IBM Center for the Business of Government. Administration officials have had to recognize that change is a lot more difficult than they expected, he said. The administration’s effort to replace the government’s 57-year-old General Schedule pay system of automatic raises with one based on job performance generated questions in the past year about the practical aspects of such a system. For example, observers have expressed concerns about the ability of managers to conduct fair and objective appraisals, particularly without extensive training.Workforce experts say agencies must implement rigorous performance-management systems before linking pay to job performance. “Agencies don’t have performance-management systems — by that I mean clear goals and objectives with performance linked to those goals and objectives,” said Robert Tobias, director of the Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation at American University in Washington.“I think that’s why DHS decided not to go forward,” Tobias said. “Specifically, [DHS officials] recognized that they have a lot of work to do in that area.” Kamensky, former deputy director of former Vice President Al Gore’s National Partnership for Reinventing Government, said the government’s ingrained management conventions are an impediment. “The culture of the federal government has never been very strong in terms of managers actually managing [employees] for performance,” he said. Federal managers are accustomed to thinking that any assessment of employees is the responsibility of human resources departments, he added.It will take time and more realistic approaches, such as the one DIS is now taking, before pay-for-performance systems take hold in the federal government, Kamensky said. Major transformations take a long time, he said. For example, the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) had a five-year phase-in period.“The first strategic plan [for GPRA] wasn’t officially due until 1999, even though the law was passed in 1993,” he said.However, Kamensky said, some form of federal merit-based pay system is inevitable, despite recent setbacks. “The move toward performance-based pay is occurring in the public sector across the world,” he said. “The U.S. federal government is lagging behind what other countries are doing. It’s an inexorable trend. It’s going to occur. The question is if it is going to occur correctly.”Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio), a  champion of performance-based pay, said he understands the hurdles ahead, but remains undeterred in his support for changing the way federal employees are paid. Voinovich’s office issued a statement to Federal Computer Week reads that Voinovich “understands the difficulty in reforming performance management” because he was directly involved in such efforts when he was mayor of Cleveland.“Voinovich knows it takes resources to develop, implement and monitor a strong performance-management system, which includes comprehensive training for employees, but that the results will benefit all federal employees,” according to the policy statement.

States embrace Medicaid pay for performance













Extensive Training


















Voinovich hasn’t given up campaign for pay changesSen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio), a strong proponent of federal pay systems based on performance, wants the federal government to address weaknesses in the employee evaluation process — so much so that he has introduced legislation that would require federal supervisors to have regular conversations with employees about expectations and job performance. Employees must understand how their supervisors perceive their performance and how their work contributes to the agency’s mission, he said.

“Effective performance management is fundamental to building a results-oriented culture,” Voinovich said. His legislation, the Federal Workforce Performance Appraisal and Management Improvement Act, would prohibit employees who receive unacceptable performance appraisals from receiving annual raises.

Voinovich has introduced other legislation, the Senior Professional Performance Act, designed to help the federal government promote and retain senior employees who are not members of the Senior Executive Service. The bill authorizes agencies to develop pay-for-performance systems that adequately compensate senior-level scientific employees and other professional workers.
                                                                                
 — Richard W. Walker
X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.