Agency officials, employee groups set to discuss pay transition

The director of the National Security Personnel Transition Office and other agency officials and employee representatives will discuss the transition from the Pentagon's now-defunct pay-for-performance system, as well as other management issues, during a Senate hearing on Wednesday.

NSPS Transition Officer Director John H. James Jr. will testify before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia Wednesday afternoon, along with Chuck Grimes, deputy associate director for employee services at the Office of Personnel Management.

Three employee representatives also plan to attend the hearing: John Gage, national president of the American Federation of Government Employees; Gregory Junemann, president of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers; and Patricia Niehaus, national president of the Federal Managers Association.

The witnesses are expected to discuss progress in shifting employees out of NSPS, as well as future performance and personnel changes at the Defense Department and other agencies.

According to FMA, Nieuhaus will address several obstacles the NSPS Transition Office faces as it moves forward with its aggressive conversion timetable. The office is most concerned with the transition's effect on employees subject to pay retention as they return to the General Schedule.

Junemann will express IFPTE's commitment to ensuring no employees lose pay as a result of the change, and propose an alternative approach to pay retention. This alternative approach would create two additional steps, with corresponding pay raises, within each GS grade. Under the proposal, Defense could establish the tenure and criteria for employees to reach these steps.

"This idea would benefit everyone, not just primarily the management employees who benefited from NSPS," Junemann will testify Wednesday in his opening statement. "It would also allow those few rank-and-file workers who got big raises under NSPS to move into a step on the GS scale so they could get their full raises in the out years."

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