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Most Defense workers earned more from NSPS switch

By Ed O'Keefe

By The Post's Federal Diary columnist Joe Davidson:

Almost three-quarters of the Defense Department employees who have been moved from its ill-fated pay for performance system received a pay increase when they returned to the General Schedule pay system that covers most federal workers.

“Of the 53,057 employees that have been transitioned through the pay period that began on May 23, 2010, approximately 71 percent received a pay increase, with the average salary ‘bump’ of $1,363 per year; and 8 percent remained at their same rate of pay because their salary matched a step within their new GS grade,” John H. James Jr., director of the National Security Personnel System transition office, planned to tell Congress in testimony prepared for a Wednesday afternoon hearing.

NSPS is the pay for performance program that at one point covered 226,000 Pentagon employees, “a larger workforce than any Executive Agency has, with the exceptions of the Department of Veterans' Affairs and the U.S. Postal Service,” according to James. But while the Bush administration once had high hopes that NSPS would lead the way in replacing the GS system with one where pay raises were based more on performance than longevity, it never won the trust of employees and Congress terminated it last year.

“Since its inception, NSPS was plagued by employee distrust and a lack of transparency,” Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs federal workforce subcommittee, said in a statement prepared for the hearing. “As one of three senators to vote against NSPS in 2003, I was pleased that this system was repealed. Federal employees, especially those charged with defending our nation, are entitled to a personnel system that is fair and transparent.”

Akaka did express concern about some NSPS workers who will be under a “pay retention” plan when they go back to GS. Because their salaries are higher than that provided by their GS grade, their pay raises will be only 50 percent of what other federal employees will receive, until the pay of the grade level catches up to their salary. This has upset employees under this system, particularly those close to retirement.

“In gradual increments, the pay schedule is catching up to the employee's salary,” James said. When it does, “pay retention ends, and the employee will begin to receive the full government pay increase.”

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By Ed O'Keefe  | June 9, 2010; 10:39 AM ET
Categories:  Workplace Issues  
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All the hundreds of millions of dollars squandered on attempting to implement the ill conceived NSPS would have been much better spent giving all GS federal employees an across-the-board 5-10% pay increase. The only performance evaluation system that comes close to being fair considering the current management environment at present is pass/fail.

Posted by: snoopdoggy | June 10, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

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