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Search Tags: Colleen Kelley
House Democrats have a bill proposing a 3.3 percent pay raise for federal employees in fiscal 2015. It's more than three times higher than what the White House calls for in its fiscal 2015 budget request. Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, offers her take to In Depth with Francis Rose.
Under the squeeze of sequestration, the size of the Internal Revenue Service's workforce contracted by nearly 6,000 employees by the end of last year, according to new IRS data. At the end of fiscal 2013, the IRS workforce stood at 83,613 employees -- the fewest number in more than decade. That's also 5,938 fewer employees than the agency had on board at the end of fiscal 2012.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government that budget and staffing reductions are impacting the agency's core missions of customer service and tax collection. The agency projects it will only be able to answer 61 percent of phone calls this year, meaning some 20 million phone calls will go unanswered. Meanwhile, taxpayers attempting to reach IRS offices are facing wait times that stretch past 20 minutes.
The Senate subcommittee with oversight of the federal workforce will take up the issue of federal-employee compensation and sinking employee morale. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), the subcommittee chairman, said at the National Treasury Employees Union's annual legislative conference that the hearing would focus, in part, on making sure federal pay stays competitive with the private sector.
On the In Depth show blog, you can listen to our interviews, find more information about the guests on the show each day, as well as links to other stories and resources we discuss.
The Internal Revenue Service and the National Treasury Employees Union reached an agreement that will see the IRS pay frontline employees performance awards starting in the spring. Acting IRS chief Danny Werfel canceled payouts of the awards last July, even though the union said the agency was obligated to pay them.
The National Treasury Employees Union has distributed copies of a new public-service announcement featuring NTEU members to 300 TV stations and 1,000 radio stations nationwide. The theme of NTEU's campaign is "They Work for US." In addition to the radio and TV ads, the effort includes a website, Facebook page and a social media push. In a conference call with reporters Wednesday announcing the campaign, NTEU President Colleen Kelley said the aim of the campaign is to change the conversation about federal employees.
In an annual report to Congress, the National Taxpayer Advocate, Nina Olson, wrote that the IRS faces "unstable and chronic underfunding that puts at risk the IRS's ability to meet its current responsibilities, much less articulate and achieve the necessary transformation to an effective, modern tax agency."
The gap in pay between federal employees and private-sector workers widened slightly this year, according to data presented at the annual meeting of the Federal Salary Council. On average, federal employees earn 35.37 percent less than their private-sector counterpart, according to data from the Office of Personnel Management and the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Despite progress in confirming a new secretary and deputy secretary, DHS still features a large number of officials in acting roles. Former Secretary Tom Ridge told lawmakers the department cannot build nor sustain a mission-focused culture with so many non-permanent positions. NTEU says pay freezes, budget cuts and the government shutdown are more to blame for low morale across DHS and the entire government.