Bringing Federal Pay Into the 21st Century

The Partnership for Public Service recently conducted interviews with 55 chief human capital officers on the state of the federal workforce and the challenges facing the federal government.

One of the key challenges facing federal employment that the officers identified was an outdated federal pay system. Nearly all chief human capital officers interviewed agreed that the current, circa 1949 General Schedule pay and job classification system is outdated and doesn’t meet the needs of the 21st century workforce.

While not a new sentiment, it represents a particularly difficult challenge when one considers a number of alternative pay systems have been tried by agencies since 1981.

The Partnership for Public Service noted that in its past three reports, a clear consensus exists among officers who were interviewed that the GS pay system should be abolished in favor of a government-wide, pay-banded system. Such a system would use a smaller number of broader pay bands in place of the GS system’s 15 grade levels.

However, in this latest report, the Partnership for Public Service said that it found a growing understanding that simply changing the pay system would not solve all of the stated problems, in part because managing any pay system is difficult. Most interviewees supported abolishing the GS system, although a few were against the idea out of concern that the government would replace it with something worse.

Any new pay system would need significant investment from the outset, and managers must be willing to manage it well. The human capital officers cited the pay for performance debacle within DoD as a reason to proceed with caution on implementing any new pay system.

As to why the officers interviewed don’t like the current GS pay system, much of the consensus centered around the fact that they felt the current system is not market based and therefore does not align with pay setting practices in the private sector. The demand for jobs in government exceeds the supply which leaves agencies at a disadvantage if they cannot pay competitively.

The second problem cited had to do with arbitrary pay caps which result in pay compression at higher levels. In the SES for instance, pay can be close to or even below that of subordinates which discourages high performing employees to aspire to jobs within the SES.

One officer interviewed summed up the overarching concern about the federal pay system, saying, “It is difficult to attract and retain the good talent when it takes nine years to get from step one to step six. The manner in which we advance pay doesn’t work for the new workforce and it needs to change.”

The full report and its findings are available on the Partnership for Public Service web site.

© 2016 Ian Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ian Smith.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce. Ian also has a background in web development and does the technical work for the FedSmith.com web site and its sibling sites.

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  1. CaptBuck says:

    That sounds about right. Let’s create a new pay system where those at the top make more while those in the middle or at entry level make less. It was this same cronyistic approach that doomed NSPS from.the start. Those at the top received raises and prestige while, for exqmple, a former GS-12 would be lumped together with a former GS-7. Although the former would have more work and respomsibility than the latter the pay would not be greatly different and they would be in the same band for rank based benifits such as overseas military housing or club membership. Basically reducing all but the most senior employees down to NCO status in the DoD. Also those lower two bands more often received small annual bonuses rather than raises. This helped the very senior mwintain their elitist status and higher pay at the detriment of all others.

  2. more2thisstory says:

     

    Agency HR
    Officer positions were upgraded one to two graded levels when they became Chief
    Human Capital information and legislation
    affecting HR operations and organizations.  In 2004, the Partnership for Public Service
    testified before Congress that it was one of Partnership’s first legislative
    initiatives to advocate the creation
    of a Chief Human Capital Officer in
    all 24 CFO Act agencies in order to Officers (CHCOs) as part of the Homeland
    Security Act of 2002 with clear expectations they would advise and coordinate modernization of agency HR systems, improve the
    quality of HR “…accelerate the growing
    sophistication and professionalization
    of the federal HR function – similar
    to what the creation of Chief Financial Officers and Chief Information Officers had accomplished in the 90s.”

    In addition to being upgraded, additional higher graded permanent HR staffs
    were further merited to assist CHCOs tackled the most pervasive and complex
    challenges confronting the Federal HR community in 2004. That short list included the hiring process, leadership
    development and succession planning, performance management, employee conduct
    and poor performance.  Since then and
    over a decade later the opportunities for improving HR support and services
    have yet to materialize.  In fact, little
    to no progress has been made in any of the areas targeted by CHCOs back in 2004!
    You need only to read federal employee columns and federal employee blogs including
    national and regional newspapers highlighting to the need to reform these same HR
    areas CHCOs were tasked to resolve over a decade ago i.e. hiring process, leadership development and succession planning,
    performance management, employee conduct and poor performance.  ALL of these areas are in greater need of
    reform today than before HR Officers were upgraded to CHCOS! This is despite
    the fact that for most of the past ten years, CHCOs and Deputy CHCOs have expended
    a great deal of time, taxpayer funds and other resources attending regular
    monthly meetings including attending CHCO Academy Sessions, CHCO Summits, chartered
    and supported various ongoing committee and subcommittee meetings, task force studies,
    reports including CHCO retreats at OPM’s Federal Executive Institute in
    Charlottesville, VA.  With exception of
    publicly lobbying to abolish the current federal hiring process and the pay and
    classification systems CHCOs have not developed ANY government wide solutions!  In both instances CHCOs support the OPM’s
    position to dismantle both of these systems calling them out-of-date, overly
    rigid, etc.  Problem is neither the CHCOs
    or OPM officials can explain how replacement systems for either of these two
    programs will or should look like! Calling the current pay and classification
    system inconsistencies out of control, OPM officials publicly proclaimed they could
    not “police” classification and pay inconsistencies throughout the government. 

    What sounded like amnesty was not lost on the
    VA’s CHCO who shortly thereafter broke his silence concerning long standing
    classification inconsistencies at the VA. 
    In short, VA’s CHCO publicly stated the current classification process
    was so sophisticated and complex, many GS-4 workers had been incorrectly
    classified one or two grades higher to a GS-5 or GS-6 pay level which were now
    facing downgrades. VA’s CHCO came clean acknowledging classification
    inconsistencies had existed throughout the VA for years but in defended this
    practice because the VA was so big (third largest agency with approximately
    270,000 employees) that it was just big to control.  As a master classifier I find this lack of
    oversight to be what it is – simple and willful neglect of delegated classification
    responsibilities entrusted to public officials.  If VA classifiers can’t tell the difference
    between a GS-4 and GS-6 how are they classifying ALL of the OTHER positions at
    the VA?  Acknowledgement by VA’s CHCO
    that these classification inconsistencies existed in VA for years suggests
    administration of Federal HR programs at the VA have simply outgrown management’s
    capability to self-administer their delegated classification responsibilities.
    While VA’s CHCO working with OPM officials toward resolving the inappropriate
    grading of these positions at the VA a bailout by of sorts by the Congress
    which is all too willing to continue to help is really what is being sought
    here.  However bailouts do nothing to fix
    responsibility and accountability involving highly paid professional HR
    officials who repeatedly exercised their oath each time they signed off on each
    position description certifying the grade level of that job was in FULL
    COMPLIANCE with ALL LAWS, REGULATIONS and RULES governing the classification action
    they signed off on.  This also raises
    other serious questions of performance management, possible fraud, overpayments
    and last but not least, appropriate disciplinary action if warranted against VA
    classifiers which VA’s CHCO failed to address when issued a public statement on
    this matter.  Worse yet is that there is
    little being said about the need for someone to hold VA accountable here!  Anything short of pulling or modifying VA’s
    classification authority will only embolden more of the same questionable and
    illegal HR practices at agencies. 

  3. tim ho says:

    Astounding.  Proposing pay increase at speed of light as ALL critics seem to identify federal employee pay as prime example of how out of touch the government is with ‘common folk’ – that ‘the feds’ are paid twice or five times that of private enterprise.  Perhaps factual conclusions but certainly ill timed.

  4. Retired Fed says:

    We had a PFP system under NSPS.  One major problem was the horrendous amount of time spent just writing your performance reviews.  Everyone has to write one.  It has, believe or not, taken me as much as a week writing one up.  A lot of time was spent just trying to remember what were the things I have accomplished for that quarter.  Four times a year we went through this.  And our managers have been increasingly inaccessible for other things because they have to write a review for everyone, too.  In the end, all but a very few (2-4%) get their regular pay increases anyway.  So for all of these hallabaloo about replacing the GS Schedule with a PFP system,  I’d rather doubt that they can come up with a system that will save enough money for the government to make it worthwhile.  Why not just take the current GS system and make it easier to deny a pay increase or give an extra one?  But wait.  The main reason is that the GS Schedule was designed to take the “politic” out of our pay/benefits.  (Sigh) There is no simple answer.

    • chiefwarrantofficer says:

      I spent 18 months under a PFP.  We could not convince our teams that taking 5 minutes on EVERY Frriday afternoon to document what they had acomplished THAT week could save them hours later.  Nope, they would much rather whine for a 59 minutes, sit around distracting the few trying to work (because it’s ALMOST quitting time), or trying to slip out to go “check on something.”

      Bottom line:  if properly drafted and acomplishments doumented weekly, it takes no more time to do an annual performance review under PFP or any other system.  The slackers will whine and the competent will get it done acurately and quickly.  If you could draft it, you didn’t know what you were supposed to be accomplishing or how to measure success. 

  5. Anna LaIfham says:

    I agree with the the human capital officers. If the private sector does it, it must be a good thing so we should do it in the government too.  I think a few golden parachutes for senior execs and political eployees would be great!  I magine, multi-million dollar bonuses to Cabinet Deputies!  That would compete with the private sector.  The rest of the reasons are good and justify resurecting son of NSPS.  Of course, when my car needs a tune up I always replace the whole engine.

  6. gov ee says:

    Did you mean to say: “The demand for jobs in government exceeds the supply which leaves agencies at a disadvantage if they cannot pay competitively”…that makes no sense. If there is a high demand for the jobs, you could pay the employees less. Am I being obtuse here?

    • Blabla says:

      The demand for skilled professionals is nationwide and is competitive between the private and government sector. Gaining and retaining these individuals by government agencies is very difficult due to the working conditions and pay.

  7. gotta love um says:

    so sad about VA nurses pay, take vitals, draw stat labs-give oxygen to save ones from crashingup and down hall-it makes my eyes leak
    heros served in a gallop pace for hours on end with no time for self to eat, drink or even do anything but run with life down halls to give back.  the least government could do is pay them better-gee whiz! they wear out and quit or die trying to get to social security age

  8. msgrowan says:

    The report represents yet another rehashing of the eponymous Federal pay topic that is well known – and has long been deplored.  The real problem is not identifying the glaring flaws in the present pay system, which dates largely from the Classification Act of 1949.  Designed for the Federal workforce as it then existed, the composition of which was then largely clerical-level in nature, it has long been recognized by virtually all compensation experts as totally antiquated for the workforce of the 21st century.  Despite occasional tinkering, e.g., abolition of the GS-16/18 “supergrades” via the 1978 CSRA and replacing them with the SES system under that same legislation, establishment of the locality pay process vai the 1990 FEPCA law, etc., the current white collar pay system still largely reflects its genesis 63 years ago during Truman’s presidency.  (Ironically, the prior pay system it replaced, established under the Classification Act of 1923, would have been far more relevant in several respects to the needs of today’s workforce, but that’s another story.)  What’s needed is not yet another round of anguished breastbeating such as this on this topic (and it’s hard on one’s breasts as well).  Rather the discussion needs to focus more effectively on the factors explaining why gridlock has long settled in on this issue and what can be done to break it.  That the gridlock is exists is also well known; it lives on because the various remedies proposed over the years have all been seen by various stakeholders as detrimental to their interests for one reason or another.  For example, the sad experience of the NSPS pay-for-performance approach, as well as DHS’ similarly abortive attempts in the PFP arena, highlighted the Federal employee unions’ opposition to any system which would give management discretion to vary workers’ pay based on management-established performance criteria that were in the unions’ view iipso facto flawed.  So until all the key players can be brought to agree on a viable approach on how to resolve this long-festering issue – concerning which I don’t see evidence that that is likely to happen soon - we will continue to see virtual carbon copies of this most recent report issued periodically for the foreseeable future.

    • tim ho says:

       So, it’s all the fault of Unions?

      • Msgrowan says:

        That’s not what I said.  I gave an example of one of the stakeholders, in this case Federal employee unions, who felt that their interests were threatened by the pay-for-performance (PFP) systems seen in DoD’s NSPS and the DHS PFP system that never reached implementation stage.  Whether the unions were or weren’t correct in their opposition wasn’t the point I was trying to make.  There are many such stakeholders beside Federal unions whose interests will have to be consulted before any solution to the problem can be identified.  Unfortunately, there is no discernible impetus operating at present to bring the stakeholders together in crafting a compromise which all can live with and which will meet the needs of a modern compensation system for the Federal civil service.  And that is a most serious problem indeed.

  9. Acountant88 says:

    Ian, do you really think congress will pass something closely resembling NSPS again?  Congress cannot even agree on the time of day.  Do you recall the court battles, and the millions of dollars wasted on it? 

  10. Lipan says:

    “officers interviewed don’t like the current GS pay system, much of the consensus centered around the fact that they felt the current system is not market based and therefore does not align with pay setting practices in the private sector” What!!!???

    This is not a market based enterprise. THIS IS NOT THE PRIVATE SECTOR, Einstines!!!!  The Federal government is not selling shoes here.  This is national security, national economic policy, infrastructure development, agricultural management…..  The very fact that these intellectual giants are attempting to link the federal (service based) system to a free market enterprise system indicates that they are woefully out of touch. They aren’t even capable of recognizing the difference between the two is a pretty good sign that they really don’t know what they are talking about.

    Sorry guys but you interviewed the wrong people.

    This will never be a market based enterprise.  Wake up! It’s go-vern-ment!!!!

    • berrysoeto says:

      Their point is Feds aren’t accountable…you can have all the lofty platitudes and how important fed jobs are but when no one is accountable its pointless

      • The Master says:

        Wrong, this is only about pay and has nothing to do with accountability, which does exist in for federal employees.

      • Lipan says:

        Just an FYI.  I manage two national level portfolios.  Let me screw up on one of them and see what happens to me then. Granted, some federal employees are not in positions of high visibility, however, there are many who are and we take our jobs very seriously.  Don’t try to classify everyone by bucketing all empolyees under a general statement.  That type of thinking always results in either embarrassment or catastrophe.  In your’s, it’s the later.

  11. Itsjustmeagain1 says:

    I worked in DOD for 40 years.  When I started the process to remove someone, they would move to another job, here or somewhere else.  Too often it’s easy to just say goodbye.  It takes a while to document the actions, remedial actions and that may be a year.  What we should consider is not allow them to move, but to move them in a box until the process is complete.  If that’s not reasonable, then the manager should be required to notify the gaining activity of the evidence to date and ask they to keep it, they’ll need it.

    My secretary moved to another Branch to escape the process and me.  Hiring was a problem so the other activity was happy to take anyone.  Six months later, I received a call from a Navy Command unassociated with my Command, asking for any information on her.  They wanted to hire her.  I told him she doesn’t work for me now.  After asking the same question several times I told him that it’s customery to bring your secretary with you when you were promoted.  I told him I didn’t.  He got the message.

    On Pay Banding, we were a test case for Pay for Performance.  I was a GS-14.  Banding was 15/14,  13/12,  11/9.  I disagreed with it, it was the GS-13 who were ‘Journeyman”, experienced as Project Directors and did the lions share of work.  They made us look good yet the greed to band 14 and 15 cut off any motivation for an average GS-13.  I suggested we band each individual with the grade above.  For example: 14/15, 13/14, 12/13, 11/12 etc.

  12. Douglas Henderson says:

    I started with NRCS as a technician a couple years ago.  I really thought at the time that this agency should move on and phase out the single step grades.  What I have come to realize is that we have far too few technicians, i.e. the guys that can deliver more than paper goods.

  13. DC_Guy says:

    The pay system needs to be based on performance and not longevity!  Plain and simple.

  14. fed up fed says:

    One problem for supervisors with having fewer, but broader, pay bands is that supervisors will then be forced to explain why you are receiving the pay you get.  Grades and steps lets someone say this is what the system says you get.  Pay bands would mean someone making a decision and then being responsible for that decision.  This is not something I think most supervisors would want to do.  Not saying that is a good thing, but it is how most of them would feel about it

  15. Lindachampagne says:

    Having HR Specialist experience with NSPS, pay banding in DoD was had a huge negative impact in my agency.  It is known that managers do not devote much time to personnel issues, and setting pay was one of them.   It is not their money and many a pay decision was made for the wrong reason.  And often times they reassigned in individual to a different position (number) but same position just to give individual an increase in pay.  While the GS system is not perfect, it does not provide managers’ authority to set pay. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    • berrysoeto says:

      The largest problem with NSPS was the skewing of payouts. No more than 10% should have ever received top performance scores and at the same time 10% should have received the lowest scores. Only the top 50% should have received a pay increase and the bottom 1/2 NOTHING

  16. Linda says:

    Until such time the government hires competent, fair and honest managers the Federal Pay System should continue.  Any other pay system would not only cost the tax payer more but would not serve our country well.  The group referred to in this article should play undercover cop and live a day in the shoes of an average federal worker and see what is really going on.   The current Federal Pay System is the best we have at the present time, and that’s a fact that has also been studied and publicized . 
    The government doesn’t run like the public sector and nor should it.  It isn’t run on a profit and loss system that dictates which employees stay and which employees go.  Instead it is a system of favoritism .  Years ago Labor Relations decided to protect only managers and not employees and in my opinion that is when everything became unbalanced.  Today, there is’t any consequence for poor behavior by manager.  Managers are just moved around if things get too bad and the tax payer picks up the tab. 

    • DC_Guy says:

      It’s not just managers.  All to often, problem employees are shuffled around or even worse, ignored to “sit in the corner” and continue collecting their pay and benefits because of all the “protections” feds enjoy.

    • berrysoeto says:

      Sorry until Feds are held accountable than pay should be frozen indefinitely

    • Ross200 says:

       Linda, the employees who complain about managers showing favoritism are usually under performers. The role of Labor Relations Specialists has always been to protect managers. The Labor unions are charge with protecting employees.

  17. Sheryl M Lewis says:

    As a compensation professional, I have seen the difficulties with pay compression.  However, compression is seen with agencies/companies that have long tenured employees. If we had employees with less tenure, compression would not be the issue it is. The answer is not making the ranges wider, since employees are paid similar to other federal employees.  I have also seen grade creep based solely on an employee’s tenure and solid performance.  This is a poor use of the pay system and pays the employee above the outside market for their tenure in the organization.  If there is a problem, then we need additional market data into the federal system.  This could mean lowering pay grades where the market has fallen, something the federal government has not done in the past.  The market is variable, which means not only up, but more frequently DOWN in areas of less demand.  Comparing govt. SES with the overpaid US Executives is not a good match.  The US Executive in private industry makes double what an executive in any other country would make for doing the same job.  I disagree with adding public employees to the excess.

  18. Concerned says:

    This is awesome. By “does not meet the needs of the 21st century” the pundit making the statement just is really parroting that Feds make too much money. Please apply the same attention to: Stock Brokers, Investment Bankers, Elected Officials, FUNDraisers for elected officials, Professional Athletes, Entertainers, lawyers, and everyone else who actually does very little work while garnering as much money as they can. The problem is NOT that Government Employees make too much; rather, the problem is that we as a society have allowed private industry to take away salary and benefits and the Governments (State, Local, AND Federal) have honored their agreements.

  19. VALarry says:

    Another problem is they are comparing Apples to Oranges when it comes to job titles, the goverment calls your job one thing,and the real world calls it something else.  How can OPM compair them when they don’t know what work is suppose to performed in the in the same jobs but are called by different names?

  20. Acountant88 says:

    The definition of insanity – doing the same thing over again, and expecting a different result.

    • VALarry says:

      You mean like going to work everyday for the government and expecting someday to be appreciated.

      • berrysoeto says:

        appreciated for attendance?? Really

        • Guest says:

          No, for a job well done. 

          For example, federal laws written by govt employees protect your right to say ‘stupid’ stuff every day.   Don’t you appreciate that? 

          • berrysoeto says:

            Hmm federal employees write laws??? WOW when did that happen??

            I thought we had a 1st amendment but I guess under Barak the constitution is nothing more than just a dam piece of paper

        • JG4 says:

          Hey I had 3% added to my retirement for great attendance… really

  21. RicknATL says:

    “Manage it well”.  This is the achilles heel of the federal government. Good managers are few and far between.  Unfortunately, the “pet” along with the “don’t rock the boat” systems are alive and well.  Nonproductive employees (who are friends with upper management) typically become managers and cater to their friends. Little wonder the system is so flawed.

    • Site_director says:

      Good managers go bad when you see your hands tied in dealing with problem employees. I spent 20 years in private sector and now work for government and am amazed at how hard it is to deal with problem employees.

      • DC_Guy says:

        Agreed.

      • Justin Valois says:

        Its the problem with Unions going too far to protect bad employees.

        • Acountant88 says:

          Unions also protect good employees from bad managers…we don’t live a perfect world Justin

          • Justin Valois says:

            As I said,the problem is unions going too far to protect BAD EMPLOYEES.
            I never said they go too far to protect GOOD employees.

            If the manager has a backlog of issues, the union should step aside.
            This is not the case.

            You are right, this is not a perfect world. In a perfect world, the employees that refuse to do their jobs would not have jobs. This would allow for more mobility in the ranks, and weed out those that care little about the mission.

          • Acountant88 says:

            Ahhhh…Justin alas…you are quite the dreamer….unfortunately when this, “weeding out” occurs you don’t think a few good employees might get pulled up by the roots because a manager does not like them for som silly reason….in a world that is not perfect you have to accept the good with the bad…unions protect people even some people they shouldn’t

          • Justin Valois says:

             I never said anything to the contrary of what you are saying.
            On the other hand, in the event of a forced downsizing, who goes first? It has nothing to do with merit, or job quality and everything to do with “Seniority”. In many cases this removes the harder working employees, and keeps those that have the mentality of “Ive done my time.”  (I’ve seen this mentality, and tend to steer clear of those with it. I am surely not the only one to see this.)

            This is not 100% of the time, but it does happen often enough.
            A seniority based approach is not the answer.

            Unfortunately on the other hand, your view is also correct in some cases. In a performance based system, it can easily become a game of “who the manager likes” and since in government, its not about who brings the most profit to the company….. Management has the opportunity to abuse its power and play favoritism.

            So what is the answer? Its quite the question.

          • Guest says:

            My God that’s what happened to an employee who worked very hard and minded his own business.  Supervisor set impossible deadlines and then wrote him up for missing them.  Set him up to fail.  He lost his job 2 years away from retirement.  In the end, supervisor was indicted.  Karma works!

          • berrysoeto says:

            And I call Baloney

          • berrysoeto says:

            Just some collateral damage when you go to war with the unions

    • sandiegoret says:

      I agree that “Manage it well” is one of the achilles heels of the federal government.  That goes along with the statement in the article, “managers must be willing to manage it well.”  Right, “managers” is a single unifying force that can be defined and made to manage well–maybe not.  Hate to tell them this but there are all  kinds of managers promoted and hired for many different reasons and have many different skills and aptitudes and lack thereof.  In an organization as large and diverse as the federal government we’re never going to get unified management capable of “managing well” as an entity.

      I think it’s time to stop paying all these compensation people, put them back to real work and admit that the federal government is different from private–for profit–enterprise.  Many of us applied for employment with the feds just because it wasn’t private enterprise and we knew we could do some good even though we never expected to be paid as well as private employees.  I think we don’t give the workforce a fair chance when we assume we can’t compete for good workers based on our mission and even if we have slightly below average compensation.  Advertised properly we could sell our work to a lot of prospective employees on the mission alone.  In the SF Bay Area where I worked some agencies were consistently successful with that approach and were able to consistently hire Berkeley and Stanford graduates as well as those from other top schools–it just took the right approach.

      Finally, it was my experience that very often we promote the productive workers to management without regard to their aptitude for the entirely different skill of managing. This does cause some “don’t rock the boat” management because these people were successful at what they were doing but were not necessarily flexible enough to stay on top of the mission and to inspire workers to think of the mission.  Another big problem is the desire of higher management to be fair and to be PC–this has lead to many agencies still using quota systems even against advice of counsel.  The flip side is that in other cases we only promote good performers as those are the only promotions where the agency can show an EEOC administrative judge objective reasons why the person was chosen over the complainant.  Management potential is considered one of those “good old boy” reasons and won’t fly in that environment.

      It’s all quite a mess but we spend way too much time wringing our hands over it and we spend way way too much time pretending we’re competing with the private sector–a nightmare by another name.

    • berrysoeto says:

      accountable fed employees are non existent

      • Guest says:

        so are all those alias’ you use that say the same thing over and over like a broken down record lazyfed/cs.

        • JG4 says:

          I think we need to “flag” inappropriate comments and make him change names again…

        • YAG says:

          Easy on Berrysoeto/Onedonewrong/lazyCS/mandingo/…… The intellectual quality and grammatical structure of his comments, combined with the fact that he is not a Federal employee, speaks well of the government’s hiring methodologies and their ability to weed out substandard applicants.

          • berrysoeto says:

            can you point out 1 single post on this thread that’s not correct?? Still waiting…
            Thought so

        • berrysoeto says:

          Hmm are you contending that my comments are inaccurate??/ sorry but I have a 99% accuracy rate

  22. berrysoeto says:

    HUH??? the demand for jobs outstips supply so it leaves the agecny ar=t a disadvantage if they can’t pay competatively?????? Is there any wonder why federal pay is out of wack with that statement. Talk about being brain dead….

    • Bill T. says:

      We have seven empty software engineer billets we can’t fill. You don’t need to apply, you wouldn’t qualify.

      • berrysoeto says:

        software engineer billets??? the govt should ONLY be buying off the shelf software. There is nothing that the federal govt that needs custom software

  23. Outside_the_beltway says:

    Maybe I’m missing something here, but what if OPM did a better job of updating its job classification standards to reflect market reality, especially in certain areas like medical and IT?  Someone who’s hired to protect DoD computers from cyberwarriors is probably in a different class from the IT person hired to introduce new patient record systems for military hospitals.  Clearly, both are hot in the marketplace and the grading standards should reflect it.  As for VA/Social Security Claims Reps and Customs Inspectors, it’s doubtful that we need a fast tracked or super-flexible system for them.  The job stays mostly the same over decades.  (No offense intended to those hard-working patriots!) 
    When used intelligently, QSIs can move people up the pay scale quicker, however, those who use government as a revolving door to the private contractors, etc. always have and will.  Check out what “retired” Senators/Congressmen are doing.  Conflating stagnant pay grades and recruiting practices with a need to implement government-wide pay-for-performance looks like an ill-advised leap of logic.  (Pardon the alliteration.)  If the SEC needs a specialized pay and recruiting system OPM can grant ’em one that doesn’t impact the less competitive realities faced by the Park Service or Passport Agency.  Like Einstein’s Unified Field Theory, a single pay system for the Federal government may prove forever elusive.

    • berrysoeto says:

      Unfortunately grade creep has priced feds out of the market place resulting in a $100b premium payments. The GS 11-15 of today were the GS 3-4 in the 1970’s. They do the exact same wok but for a whole lot more pay.
      As for IT jobs very few in the federal community can ever match what the private sector pays for top talent. Other than Cybersecurity IT jobs in the federal govt are nothing more than resetting passwords and moving equipment at best a GS5 position

      • Old Fed says:

        Oh, lazyfed has yet another identity!! As usual, you don’t have a clue what Federal IT work is really like. Go back to watching TV while collecting your military retirement, since you were deemed Unqualified for any real Federal CS job.

        • berrysoeto says:

          Sorry I do having to hire contractors to fix our systems. Everyone is amazed at the pay grades and compensation for the little they do

          • Justin Valois says:

            “Sorry I do having to”

            Sorry I do having to do job well…… Me Crush Woman, take back to cave.

            Nuff Said.

          • berrysoeto says:

            Its a blog simpleton not a thesis

          • Guest says:

            Come on…you’re home collecting your military retirement check. Stop pretending you work on a Federal IT systems.   You can’t even formulate a correct English sentence.

          • berrysoeto says:

            an a IT emploee can’t write code or read and write

      • VAVet says:

        Well, I disagree because I have been in my current job 4years but at the agency 10 and have only seen more and more steps added with the pay being the same as it was years ago when it was less complicated.  I currently have to do my job and the job of others becasue of the lack of skill in the other positions.  They have continually added on more and more computer programs for us to complete our jobs and not only am I not compensated monetarily I am not compensated timewise either. 

        • berrysoeto says:

          That’s not the fault of the VA but rather the lousy IT people running their systems. They are overpaid and utterly incompetent

          • JG4 says:

            and you have a whole set of marketable skills eh?

          • Justin Valois says:

            “Sorry I do having to hire people”   — BS

          • berrysoeto says:

            No I’m a civil servant by defination I have 0 marketable skills

          • JG4 says:

            Then you must really suck at your profession…sorry to hear that you must be the 2% that is incapable of raising yourself up… must really suck to be you.. you tried now just lay back and suck on the gov’t teat.. the gov’t owes you a living eh?

      • slobooger says:

        You sound a bit niave about what federal IT employees do. Perhaps you have never heard of managing an HP SAN, and implementing Continuous Access on the system to ensure records for thousands of national guard units can be safe in the event of a catastrophy.

        Perhaps you havent worked in a data center where servers have to be managed, virtualized, and secured.

        “What is it you say you do here?”
        You absolutely sound like an ignorant child in your post above.

      • Justin Valois says:

        I have to seriously question your understanding of IT in the government. Just because all you see from your paperpushing cubacle is “Password Changers” doesnt mean there is not a LOT going on behind the scenes. Where do you think all that data goes? Out into the universe through magic????

        • berrysoeto says:

          All that happens
          behind the scenes” is done by contractors. The GS positions have zero skills or ability

          • Justin Valois says:

            That may happen at your place of employment….. Sitting behind that desk…. Selling services to customers, and wearing that white button up shirt, black tie, and wishing you got to drive the Geek-mobile.

            “Sorry I do having to…”  install printer, DEdeeDEE!!!

          • Guest says:

            He’s retired military & openly bitter toward Feds. 

          • berrysoeto says:

            make sure you dust it when you get it out of the box. Sounds like a 2 day job

          • Justin Valois says:

            Must have been one of those E-9s that sat in an office their whole enlistment, never did anything, and came out wishing for a free job using the point system…..
            Then got sour when they told him to take a hike.
            Isnt that true B.S.? Your angry about this, arent you?

    • VA nurse needs higher salary says:

      I disagree-VA nurses are underpaid and need more salary to support work and keep them for more than 2 weeks after orientation

      • Sumo says:

        I don’t understand.   You are saying a person who knows the job duties, shift hours, pay, and benefits before accepting the position, would quit two weeks after oreintation?  And that happens frequently?  I don’t beleive it.  And where are they going when they quit?  The lucrative and thriving private health care industry?  Yes I am being sarcastic.   You can’t turn around these days without hearing of the next private hospital to be in financial trouble and cutting pay and workers…………

        • Old Fed says:

          They don’t realize the working conditions, and yes, they quit after 2 weeks. One of my family members is a VA nurse. It is very hard for them to hire and keep good medical personnel. Constant overtime requirements, due to short-staffing, an overwhelming number of both young and old Vets, but especially young ones with mental issues or severe physical problems due to 10 years of war.

          • berrysoeto says:

            Its a function of the lousy quality of care that vets receive

          • JG4 says:

            can you be consistent? a few posts ago you said it was a result of bad IT…

          • Justin Valois says:

            Haha I can hear it now…..

            “Yeah, the nurses suck, cause the IT people suck…. and everybody else in the fed sucks….. because of the nurses!!!”

            Speaking of a psychologic disorder…….
            BD, may have an issue that should be looked into by a mental doctor….

          • thank a VA nurse today says:

            Thank your family member who is a VA  nurse> I pray that more pay will come her way>women are nurses with few men and doctors are men with few women so that is why nurses are paid less than GS GED admin working for the doctors but they do not climb mountains everyday with no breaks.  since nurses have to run so hard to advocate for our heros and are the backbone of care given-they are masses and so it is too hard to pay fairly if money has to go to the others at high rates. eyes closed nothing ever changes-God help President Obama and Congsee one day-please thank a VA nurse today>the next life saved may be your own

          • guestwo says:

            True.  When you have GS 10 high school graduates who sit around all day then complain about how hard they work I am surpised all nurses in the Fed gov’t don’t write their local paper (use a pseudonym so supervisor can’t ID you) and tell the US what it is really like.  Wht a joke.  Some nurses start out at a what GS 7 or 8.  Same as incompetent secretaries with no responsibility!!!

    • sandiegoret says:

      Nicely stated.  And the VA nurse below only makes your case stronger–if OPM would keep up its classification of the changes in different occupations then VA nurses would receive better salary–if warranted.  

  24. DoD Lifer says:

    Pay banding.  I witnessed an employee with barely 12 months journeyman experience (GS-11 level) get on a hiring list for a Chief position (GS-14 equivalent) and she was offered the job.  

    If you allow pay banding and do not improve the job announcement criteria to include “X years of EXPERIENCE” you are going to get more cronyism hires like described above. 

    Why is it that every private sector job requires actual experence, say 5 years for a manager, and Federal jobs only require one year experience at the lower level to be considered for the next grade?  

    • Fed Peasant says:

      NSPS was a curse.

    • Guest says:

      OPM requirements are one year at the next lower grade level…if you pay band what previously was a GS-11, 12, and 13 together….then they have one year at the next lower grade.  In using X numbers of years of experience, HR or the  manager would have to prove that a person with X-1 years of experience couldn’t do the job.  Time performing a duty has never been a good indicator of performance.  Think of it this way, there are people who have been doing a job for 20 years who perform the job to minimal standards but sometimes someone with only a couple of years of experience grasps the concepts immediately and performs exceptionally.

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