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News Release

Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Contact: Office of Communications
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Director Delivers Testimony on SES Pay Reforms

Washington, DC - U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Linda M. Springer testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce and the District of Columbia on the progress to date with Senior Executive Service (SES) pay reforms. The SES pay-for-performance system was established under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2004.

"Senior executives are hired with the expectation that they will be high level performers." Springer said. "When fully implemented, the new SES system will reestablish the high value of being rated as a fully successful executive. Past practice has corrupted the definition so that what has truly been a fully successful performance has been equated with an outstanding rating. We need to adjust expectations so that being rated fully successful is viewed positively and that higher ratings are reserved for performance that exceeds what is expected."

Under the law, agencies must receive performance system certification from OPM before their SES members can be paid above level III of the Executive Schedule. Now in the third year of the certification process, agencies are making progress in their ability to build performance management programs based on well-documented performance plans that include measures closely aligned to mission requirements. Today, well-documented performance plans with measurable goals closely aligned to mission requirements are the norm.

"OPM is committed to systems of compensation that reward federal employees for performance, in contrast to those systems driven by longevity," said Springer. "We steadfastly believe the SES pay system is a good system. We recognize, however, that there may be some inconsistencies with how the new system is being implemented across the government."

Concluding her testimony, Springer said: "I remain firmly convinced that pay-for-performance is critical to the success of government and will achieve even greater results as we work to improve its operation both at the Senior Executive Service level and throughout all levels of government."

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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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