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Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Federal Programs and the Federal Workforce, hosted a hearing Tuesday to discuss the low morale of federal employees and explore possible solutions for agencies seeking to improve it.
Tags: Jon Tester , Senate , Katherine Archuleta , J. David Cox , OPM , Best Places to Work , AFGE , Colleen Kelley , Jeri L. Buchholz , NASA , Carol Waller Pope , FLRA , employee satisfaction , Employee Viewpoint Survey , workforce , sequestration , Michael OConnell
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.
House Democrats are pushing for federal employees to get a pay raise next year that's more than three times larger than President Barack Obama proposed. A bill introduced Wednesday by Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Jim Moran (D-Va.) would provide federal employees with a 3.3 percent across-the-board pay raise in 2015.
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.
For far too long federal agencies have looked to the training budget as one of the first places to cut (after travel) when budgets are tight. Training cuts are among the most shortsighted of the budget-cutting options, says former Homeland Security CHCO Jeff Neal.
The White House's fiscal 2015 budget proposal released Tuesday aims to boost funding for federal-employee training, which has been hard hit by across-the-board sequestration cuts in recent years. The budget also proposes a 1 percent pay increase for federal employees and leaves untouched federal retirement programs.
OPM Director Katherine Archuleta didn't have details on the proposals, but she said agencies need to learn from each other and build on their successes.
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.
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.