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News Release

Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Contact: Michael Orenstein
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Report Shows Agency Progress on Evaluating SES Performance and Rewarding Federal Executives

Washington, D.C. -- Tighter assessment of the performance of executives in the federal government results in fewer top managers receiving top-level ratings, leaving greater rewards and recognition for star performers, according to a U.S. Office of Personnel Management report issued to agency and department heads.

OPM Director Linda M. Springer said the report on performance ratings, awards and salaries is "reflective of the transition to the new Senior Executive Service pay-for-performance system" that took effect in 2004. The report documents the progress made by federal agencies in evaluating and making meaningful distinctions in the individual performance - with linkage to overall organizational performance - of SES members, the federal government's top career and non-career managers.

Data in the report for fiscal year 2004 show that 59.4 percent of the career SES received a rating at the highest performance level, down from 74.5 percent in FY03. Also, 58.2 percent of career SES members received a performance award averaging $13,734 in FY04, up from 57.4 percent ($12,883 average) in FY03.

"Our report documents some good early news about SES pay and recognition and should reinforce that managers are taking the evaluation process more seriously," said Springer.

The new SES pay-for-performance system was proposed by President George W. Bush in the fiscal 2004 budget. It was adopted by Congress in the 2004 National Defense Authorization Act.

While OPM's report documents a solid start on pay for performance in the executive corps, the Bush Administration wants to create a performance culture that motivates employees governmentwide.

With the new SES pay system, agencies must submit their executive-level appraisal systems to OPM for certification that they make "meaningful distinctions based on relative performance." SES members who are evaluated under OPM-certified appraisal systems are eligible for higher pay based on their performance.

OPM's report includes a number of charts, including one that lists a sampling of agency-specific average SES rates of basic pay, plus the average adjustments for agencies having earned OPM's certification.

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OPM leads and serves the Federal Government in enterprise human resources management by delivering policies and services to achieve a trusted, effective civilian workforce. By Empowering Excellence in Government through Great People, we provide leadership and support to U.S. agencies on issues including human resources policy and oversight, background investigations, federal employee benefits, retirement services, guidance on labor-management relations, and programs to improve workforce performance. For more information, visit or follow OPM on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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