Meet the New Leaders of Committees Responsible for Federal Employees, Workforce Policy
By The Federal Managers Association
The federal workforce faced difficulties throughout the 113th Congress: the implementation of sequestration; the sixteen day government shutdown; attacks against hard-earned benefits; and, seemingly constant contempt towards the dedicated men and women working for federal agencies and departments.
With the new congressional session starting in January 2015, the federal workforce will see new leaders within the House Oversight and Government Reform (OGR) Committee, and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC). These men will have a strong impact on all managers and great influence on how the federal government is managed.
Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), the new chairman of the OGR Committee, has already expressed an agenda calling for reform throughout the federal government. While he’s acknowledged the majority of the federal workforce is dedicated and hard-working, he’s commented on the need to root out bad apples. In past Congresses, he introduced the Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act, which calls for the termination of federal employees who are delinquent in their taxes. This legislation does not take into consideration the fact that federal agencies and departments already have means to deal with delinquent employees, with consequences ranging from financial counseling to termination. Representative Chaffetz has also expressed support for the expedited termination of Senior Executive Service (SES) members, not just at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), but at all agencies and all federal employees throughout the federal government. While there is room for greater efficiency and effectiveness within the federal government, the Federal Managers Association (FMA) continues to remind members of Congress the need for thoughtful reforms, not knee-jerk reactions.
In the upper chamber, Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) is slated to take the reins of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. As one of his main concerns is the need to reduce the federal deficit, he has already made comments at looking at the federal workforce as a source of savings. Senator Johnson already expressed interest in continuing to examine federal pay and benefits, specifically as it compares to the private sector. In addition, he has looked at how large the federal workforce needs to be. FMA is concerned about several of his positions on issues such as reducing the amount of federal employees by 10 percent. He has also called for calculating federal retirement annuities based on five highest years of salary, instead of the current three; ending the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) early retirement supplement; halting Senior Executive Service (SES) members’ bonuses for three years; and, eliminating locality pay for federal employees. The federal workforce has already contributed roughly $140 billion over ten years towards deficit reduction, however, Senator Johnson is still calling for deeper cuts that would impact all managers.
Despite the cloud of possible reductions within the federal workforce, there are fed friendly issues both Representative Chaffetz and Senator Johnson support. One of the primary issues both FMA and the Chairmen have supported is the need for supervisory training throughout the federal government. In the wake of scandals involving telework and improper use of federal charge cards, inspectors general, advocates for the federal workforce, and lawmakers have commented these events could have been avoided if managers had training on how to discuss proper practices and how to talk with poor performers. The development of managerial skills is one of the greatest investments an agency can make, creating a sustainable and efficient federal government. FMA looks forward to working with Representative Chaffetz and Senator Johnson to make sensible reforms to federal agencies and departments and help managers create a more efficient and effective federal workforce.
Celebrating its 100th year, the Federal Managers Association (FMA) is proud of its long tradition of Advocating Excellence in Public Service. For more information on how FMA works to protect your interests and to join our team, please visit www.fedmanagers.org.
Posted in Hear it from FMA