GAO seeks personnel flexibility, name change

General Accounting Office chief David Walker has proposed legislation that would give the congressional watchdog agency freedom from key personnel restrictions contained in Title 5 of the U.S. Code, and would change the name of the agency to the Government Accountability Office.

The bill would give GAO permanent authority to offer early retirement and buyout incentives to employees. Three years ago, Congress granted GAO temporary authority, lasting until Dec. 31, to offer such incentives. Since then, according to GAO, 78 employees have taken early retirement, nearly all of them high-level supervisors and managers. GAO hasn't offered buyouts under the law, and in a memo to agency employees obtained by Government Executive, Walker said GAO does not "have any plans to do so at this time."

The legislation would also give GAO wide latitude to create a performance-oriented pay system of its own design. Walker has long pushed for Congress to tie federal pay rates across government more closely with employees' performance. "It seems clear that we need to fundamentally re-think our approach to federal pay and develop an approach that places a greater emphasis on a person's knowledge, skills, position and performance rather than the passage of time, the rate of inflation and their geographic location," Walker wrote in a recent letter to Government Executive.

A corollary to the performance-pay provision would modify Title 5 rules regarding the grade and pay of employees who are demoted during workforce restructuring efforts. In his memo, Walker said "GAO employees would not have their basic rate of pay cut under this provision. However, future pay increases would be set consistent with the pay parameters of the person's new position."

In connection with the changes, Walker told employees the agency's name should be changed to the Government Accountability Office "to more accurately reflect the work of the agency as a multi-disciplinary professional services organization rather than an agency that pre-audits government vouchers, as was the case in 1921 when GAO was first created."

Other proposals in the legislation would give GAO greater flexibility in reimbursing employees for relocation expenses, allow the agency to offer experienced candidates for high-level positions increased amounts of annual leave, and authorize the creation of an executive exchange program with private sector organizations.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
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.