Good Son of NSPS or Bride of Frankenstein

Thursday - 6/10/2010, 4:00am EDT

The rise, decline and fall of the controversial National Security Personnel System is a Defense Department show.

So far.

Defense was the only place where the pay-for-performance plan was implemented.

So far.

But Congress recycles.

Congress, which approved NSPS, has now told DoD to quickly phase out the program. The 200,000-plus Army, Navy and Air Force civilians forced into it are now to be returned, as near as possible, to their old grade/salary levels. That will be easier said than done. But it will be done.

Although NSPS was a Defense Department experiment, workers at GSA, HUD, Interior and other agencies may have to deal with a similar pay-for-performance system sooner rather than later.

Pro-administration federal unions are concerned that something similar to the NSPS, they call it "NSPS Lite", might be part of a coming civil service reform package that could look something like this: Big Career Changes Coming at You

So even if you don't work for Defense, what happens to the people returning from NSPS to the regular civil service should be of interest. Because something like it could happen to you.

An unknown number of NSPS employees are now paid more, in some cases much more, then grade levels they will be returning too. Defense has said those workers will retain their NSPS salaries and be given half pay raises in the future until their pay catches up with their grade. So is this a break, or a tragedy?

Some NSPS types being returned to the civil service fold are rolling with the blows. "It was a great ride," said one Army manager. "I did well, think I deserve it, and I'm ahead of the game because in effect I got advanced pay raises." He said he has no problem with being put into "saved pay" status although he'll "miss (being part of) NSPS."

A Defense worker who was not under NSPS said "those people who got the big bucks are lucky and should appreciate their good fortune. I slays me to hear them complain that they are only going to get 50 percent of the regular GS raises in the immediate future. They should thank their lucky stars."

Ann G., says "the unhappy NSPS folks deserve cheese with their whine. They benefited from what amounts to advanced pay raises. They got theirs early. They should be grateful and return to the civil service ranks, with the rest of us, with a smile."

But Jeff, a Navy civilian transitioning (against his will) out of the NSPS thinks it's a shame. And maybe illegal. "...The NSPS raises, which NSPS employees earned, were salary increases made in accordance with federal law...they earned them. I don't see how they can legally be taken back...gradually...such as the proposed plan to reduce future GS pay raises which these employees would normally be entitled to receive."

So, do the unhappy NSPS folks have a point and a legitimate legal complaint? Or should they count their money and give thanks for a good ride?

To reach me: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com


Nearly Useless Factoid
by Suzanne Kubota

National Geographic News reports "An analysis of mortar from the 600-year-old city wall in Nanjing confirmed its mortar is a mix of powdered limestone and sticky-rice soup." Do not try this at home.


ADDITIONAL PAY AND BENEFITS NEWS FROM FEDERAL NEWS RADIO
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Will you soon be able to invest annual leave in your TSP?
Legislation has been introduced to make this possible, as we've been telling you. This would, of course, only apply to those leaving federal service, whether they are retiring or moving into the private sector. Dan Adcock is legislative director of the National Active Retired Federal Employees and explains where the bill currently is. Read more here.

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