Fedblog FedblogFedblog
Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

Accomplishments: Amazing. Bonuses: $0

ARCHIVES
Tobias Arhelger/Shutterstock.com

With all the talk these days of inappropriate bonuses for executives at the Veterans Affairs Department, last night provided a look at the other end of the spectrum. The Senior Executives Association honored dozens of high-ranking career federal officials for highly impressive accomplishments that have received scant attention from the public -- or the nation’s political leaders, for that matter. And this year, those achievements come with bonuses totaling $0.

SEA held a reception at the State Department honoring the finalists for the Presidential Rank Awards, which recognize the highest-achieving senior federal leaders. Only 1 percent of the Senior Executive Service can achieve the rank of Distinguished Executive and 5 percent can be designated Meritorious Executives.

Ordinarily, Distinguished Executives get bonuses equal to 35 percent of their salaries, and Meritorious Executives get 20 percent. But last year, in the midst of the fight over sequestration and with a government shutdown looming, the White House canceled the awards for 2013. Under the law, though, the nomination and selection process for the  awards went on, and last month OPM published the names of the finalists who agreed to be publicly recognized.

Those finalists included:

  • Shay D. Assad, director of defense pricing in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, who developed an acquisition plan that saved $15 billion over two fiscal years.
  • Deborah Jin of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, who is an international leader in research on new forms of matter involving the gases of ultracold atoms and molecules.
  • Ellen Ochoa, director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, who successfully completed four space missions, two involving assembly of the International Space Station and two examining the science behind ozone depletion.
  • Walker Smith, director of the Office of Global Affairs and Policy at the Environmental Protection Agency, who was chief architect of the agency’s petroleum refinery initiative, involving 22 settlements that required billions of dollars in pollution control.

Ordinarily, the SEA event is a black-tie gala affair, befitting the achievements of those honored. This year’s event was a more subdued reception, followed by an address by Paul Volcker, former Federal Reserve chairman and current head of the Volcker Alliance, which continues his longtime work to improve the operations of government and implementation of public policy.

Volcker stressed the need for attention to federal management issues, noting that the Constitution doesn’t address the development of public policy, but specifically mandates that the president “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

High-ranking officials who attended the event in support of the honored senior executives included NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Undersecretary of Defense and Comptroller Robert F. Hale, Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta, and Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director for Management Beth Cobert.

(Image via Tobias Arhelger/Shutterstock.com)

Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.