Crowdsourcing meets the federal pay debate

Thursday - 3/24/2011, 10:31am EDT

Dennis Ross, U.S. House of Representatives

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By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

Changing the federal pay system, or civil service in general, would involve a lot of moving parts, and even more stakeholders.

Rep. Dennis Ross, (R-Fla) told Federal News Radio he intends to hear from all of them.

As chair of the the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and Labor Policy, Ross heard recently from many, but missing on the hearing's witness list were feds.

Ross said he's learned there's a particularly low attrition rate for federal workers, and their benefits are generally better than the private sector. He told the Federal Drive what he's looking for now is ideas from federal employees about how the government can operate within it financial means. "Who better can do that." asked Ross, "than those that are out there actually performing the service, so we need their feedback. We want them to be engaged in this process."

While he said he's interested in finding efficiencies anywhere, he's particularly keen to hear about the workforce from the workforce.

Those in the federal workforce have got a good position, have got good benefits, but then again, those that are performing well are rewarded no greater than those that are performing poorly, and that to me is something that needs to be addressed. That those that are performing well need to be rewarded based on performance; that those that are performing poorly need to be dealt with differently, and I think that's where you start creating a greater efficiency, effectiveness, and I think a greater morale within the federal workforce.

So the next step in the process, he said, is to set up a website "where federal employees can anonymously provide suggestions, criticisms, ideas of how to make their particular job, or any particular federal workforce job, better, more efficient, more cost-effective."

Ross said the site should be up and running within the next 30 days.

Once comments start coming in, said Ross, "I think what we're going to find is that a lot of people are going to be painfully honest with their performance and how well they've been doing and how well somebody else has not been doing and how we can correct that."

Once the suggestions have been submitted, Ross said the subcommittee will "want to be able to take these and implement them into some form of legislation that allows us to reform the workforce procedures. Again, this may be so far as to reform the General Schedule."

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