Lawmaker Looks to Reform Agencies Without Hurting Their Employees

Rep. Mike Michaud backs a gentler approach than Republican colleagues. Rep. Mike Michaud backs a gentler approach than Republican colleagues. Cliff Owen/AP

A Democratic lawmaker is pushing two pieces of legislation designed to improve agency management without hurting federal employees along the way – or at least not to the extent of alternative bills.

Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, recently introduced the 2014 Comprehensive Department of Veterans’ Affairs Performance Management and Accountability Reform Act, which would set clearer goals against which senior VA executives’ job performance could be measured. The Veterans’ Affairs Committee ranking member was critical of VA’s shortcomings and scandals, but struck a much softer tone in his bill than other, Republican-backed measures.

“Republicans and Democrats share the common goal of ensuring our seniors receive the best services possible -- they deserve nothing less,” Michaud wrote in a letter asking for his colleagues’ support. “And we agree that when negative outcomes occur, employees -- especially VA’s senior leadership -- must be held accountable.”

His solution, however, was to establish up-front organizational goals for VA’s senior executives, and to use them in reviewing performance. Previous measures considered by the committee would make it easier to fire VA supervisors and prohibit them from earning bonuses for five years. The House has also voted -- without any Democratic opposition -- to cut the funding for bonuses for all VA employees by 14 percent through 2018.

Michaud -- a Maine gubernatorial candidate in 2014 – also is advocating a gentler approach to overhauling the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service.

In an April 10 letter to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Michaud asked that USPS reform legislation  be brought to the House floor for a vote, but he blasted recent Republican efforts to find savings through compensation cuts to Postal Service employees.

“A financially sound USPS means that the jobs of hardworking postal employees are secure and a dependable level of service can be maintained,” Michaud said in a statement accompanying the letter. “It’s time for Congress to act on meaningful reform so that the Postal Service can continue to keep American families and businesses connected.”

The congressman asked Boehner to bring postal reform to a vote “as soon as Congress returns from April recess,” though that timetable will likely be postponed as the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will consider new USPS legislation

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

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

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


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