Moran Introduces SES Reform Legislation

Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA) has introduced legislation to implement reforms within the Senior Executive Service to address issues such as SES pay and the SES rating system.

Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA) has introduced legislation to implement reforms within the Senior Executive Service to address issues such as SES pay and the SES rating system.

The legislation is known as the Senior Executive Service Act of 2012 and is co-sponsored by Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

According to the Partnership for Public Service, approximately 64 percent of the nearly 7,100 Senior Executives will be eligible to retire by 2016. Part of the impetus for the legislation is to improve recruitment and retention to address this potential employee shortfall.

According to a statement from Moran, employment within the SES has become less attractive to senior GS 14 and 15 employees, primarily due to work/life balance (more hours with no guaranteed annual raise or locality pay), pay compression (SES employees do not receive an automatic, across-the-board pay increase as GS employees do), and change of geographic relocation (the SES was meant to be a group of leaders who periodically move within agencies but risk of geographic relocation is now seen as a deterrent).

Some of the reforms of the legislation include:

  • Strengthening Candidate Development Programs through mentoring and succession planning;
  • Requiring two-year diversity improvement plans within each agency
  • Provide a pay increase, equal the annual average GS pay raise, for SES personnel who receive at
  • least a “fully successful” performance rating
  • Include SES performance awards and bonuses in their high-3 annuity calculations to help alleviate the pay compression.
  • Eliminating the cumbersome Executive Core Qualification narratives for initial applications to SES
  • Providing clarity in the SES rating system, giving employees a full evaluation of SES employee job performance

Speaking on the legislation, Moran said, “In the next four years, well over half of our Senior Executive Service will be eligible to retire. In order to recruit the best and brightest to high-level civil service, the Federal Government must improve the working environment for the Senior Executive Service. The long-awaited reforms in this legislation will ensure we have qualified individuals to replace SES employees planning to retire.

“Republican efforts to unfairly target our federal workforce in the name of deficit reduction have significantly damaged job satisfaction – only 6 percent of college graduates recently polled want to work for the government. The Federal Government can compete with the private sector only if we improve career development and advancement opportunities for those already in or considering civil service.”

Van Hollen, one of the Act’s co-sponsors, added, “Reform of the Senior Executive Service is long overdue. We should modernize the system and bring it into the 21st century – improvements will help both employees and the American taxpayers.”

The Partnership for Public Service President and CEO Max Stier said, “Kudos to Reps. Moran, Connolly and Van Hollen for proposing reform of the Senior Executive Service, an issue that is critical to improving the effectiveness of our government. We need a government-wide leadership corps that works together to solve our nation’s most pressing challenges. The reforms outlined in this legislation will ensure that agencies and departments develop the very best talent from within government and attract external talent to hold the top career managerial and policy positions.”

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Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.