Bill would extend federal new hire probation

Monday - 4/25/2011, 10:31am EDT

Dennis Ross, U.S. House of Representatives

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By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

The probationary period for new federal employees could be extended from one year to two under proposed legislation.

Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fl.), Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce sponsor of the new bill told Federal News Radio supervisors and managers say they need the additional time.

Ross said his subcommittee found "that supervisors and managers don't have adequate opportunity to evaluate federal workers and as a result, once the one year probationary period passes and of course they become a permanent employee, there's little ways for them, the managers and supervisors, to make the adjustments whether they want to keep somebody or not."

The additional time, said Ross, would allow managers to "make sure that we have the right employees doing the right job".

What I'm trying to do is reach out to those rank and file of the federal workforce who know that some people shouldn't be there, who know that some people should be rewarded more than they have been, but more importantly to those to make sure that they have an adequate opportunity to be reviewed and that when they get their job, that they are the best employee that could be found for that particular position.

For federal employees feeling targeted, Ross told the Federal Drive his focus isn't the federal workforce as much as the federal debt.

"The era of big government is now upon us. I firmly believe that the federal workforce that we have - we have great employees, we have some that are incredibly dedicated, doing essential government functions, and while I think that, we probably have to downsize just as a matter of economics," said Ross. "We're in significant debt here as a country and we've got to scale back in so many different ways in order to become solvent because we cannot sustain the path we're on. Of course we're going to look at the federal workforce. We're going to look at paring it down."

Ross made it clear Congress will be looking at paring down everything, including federal pensions.

I understand that they're feeling like Congress is out to get them, but the reality is that the federal government cannot uphold some of these obligations such as the defined benefit plan. The economics aren't there. They cannot pay out on the course that they are on because of the rate of return. That doesn't mean that they didn't get the best deal. The federal employees - their unions got some tremendous deals. The reality is though that the federal government cannot uphold a lot of its obligations."

In the case of extending the probationary period, the Federal Managers Association has come out in support of the effort.

Ross added, "nobody's singling out the federal workforce out of spite. We're doing it in order to make our government more effective, more efficient and make sure we recruit and retain the best employees we possibly can."

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