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Washington, D.C. - U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Linda M. Springer testified today before the House Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia on Federal pay policies and administration. Much of the testimony centered on OPM support for Senate bill 1046, the Senior Professional Performance Act of 2007, which would increase pay rates for certain senior-level and senior technical positions, and revise the SES certification time frame for authorized performance appraisal systems, and legislation to extend locality pay to employees working outside the contiguous 48 states.
"We continue to support reforms recognizing the value of good performance, including the extension of higher pay to senior-level and senior technical workers, along with a certified performance system," Springer said.
In addition to giving subcommittee members an overview of the Federal pay system, including the General Schedule, the Federal Wage System (FWS), Senior Executive Performance Appraisal Certification, and recruitment initiatives, Director Springer voiced OPM's support for two pieces of legislation designed to assist in the recruitment and retention of Federal employees.
The Senior Professional Performance Act of 2007 would ensure certain senior-level and senior technical positions would have pay systems which mirror the current Senior Executive Service (SES) certification provision. This would include an increase in basic pay rates for certain senior-level and senior technical positions from the current Executive Level IV to Executive Level III; ineligibility for locality pay for these positions; and the ability for the pay rate of these positions to be raised to Executive Level II should an agency have in place an OPM-certified performance appraisal system which makes meaningful performance distinctions.
Director Springer also voiced her support for legislation to extend locality pay to non-foreign regions outside the contiguous 48 states. Currently, some 50,000 Federal employees in these areas receive Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) payments rather than locality pay. While not subject to Federal income tax, the COLA does not count in the calculation of retirement annuities. The proposed legislation would phase-in locality pay over a seven year period.
In addition, Director Springer also discussed OPM's progress on Alternative Personnel Systems. OPM has concluded that performance based and broadband pay systems have produced improvements to agency recruitment and retention capabilities.
Our mission is to Recruit, Retain and Honor a World-Class Workforce to Serve the American People. OPM supports U.S. agencies with personnel services and policy leadership including staffing tools, guidance on labor-management relations and programs to improve work force performance.