Mobility in SES not always necessary

Thursday - 3/15/2012, 9:35am EDT

Carol Bonasaro, president, Senior Executives Association

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A recent a report by the Partnership for Public Service and McKinsey & Company detailed a lack of mobility by members of the Senior Executive Service.

Carol Bonosaro, Senior Executives Association president, told Senior Correspondent Mike Causey that mobility was not always desirable or necessary.

"No one disagrees with anything we can do to make opportunities for mobility more prevalent than they are right now," she said. "But, the argument was that 48 percent of executives have never changed positions since joining the SES."

The average time an executive spends in a position is 3-1/2 years, while averaging 6-1/2 total years in the SES. Those figures don't worry Bonosaro so much.

"A senior executive needs both leadership and administrative talents as well as the technical/professional knowledge of the program in question," she said. "It's not surprising that there are some agencies, some programs and positions where that long-time experience is valuable and necessary."

Bonosaro didn't think that being mobile would ever be the "absolute norm." However, agencies should promote professional revitalization and enable people who want to be mobile to be able to do it. Nothing is in place currently in the SES to make that happen.

"If you're going to undertake a mobility program, you want it to be something that's handled in a way that benefits both the agency and the executive and is managed intelligently," she said.

Speaking at the release of the PPS report, Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) said he planned to work with the report's authors to craft a bill that would turn the SES into the "federal government's A-team."

A Moran spokesperson said his legislation would address SES recruitment and retention problems, reform the compensation system and increase career development.

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