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Hosts Tom Temin and Emily Kopp bring you the latest news affecting the federal community each weekday morning, featuring interviews with top government executives and contractors. Listen live from 6 to 9 a.m. or download archived interviews below.
Calls grow for federal pay cuts
Tuesday - 5/25/2010, 10:40am EDT
Senior Internet Editor
John Palguta is the Vice President for Policy at the Partnership for Public Service, admitted to Federal News Radio he's a bit puzzled by the rationale of those arguing for a pay cut.
"It's akin to saying we've got people suffering out there," said Palguta, "so the solution is to have more people suffer and somehow that's going to make things better."
As someone who spent a career in HR, Palguta said the issue of pay is all about making sure "you're paying what you need to do to get the workforce that you need."
If you look at comparable job to comparable job, there's not a body of convincing evidence out there that says that federal employees are in any case being overpaid. In fact federal law requires that pay be set at a level roughly comparable to equivalent jobs in the private sector. So to me these across the board, sledgehammer type solutions, if you will just don't make a lot of sense.
The Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act of 1990, or FEPCA, said Palguta, is one of the reasons federal employees don't need to worry too much about a cut in pay anytime soon.
"You've got to change the law," said Palguta, "if you want to start more systematically under-paying feds, which I don't think would be a good idea."
So if there's no pay cut on the horizon, the Federal Drive asked Palguta about the possibility of a pay freeze instead. He agreed that times are tight, but a freeze is as broad a stroke as a cut. The solution, he said, should be "a scalpel and not a sledgehammer. I think you've got to go out and take a look at what is the situation job by job, given consideration of the geographic area."