TSA announces 2009 performance-based payouts

More than 30,000 employees under the Transportation Security Administration's new personnel system will receive sizable performance-based pay increases in addition to their regular 2009 raise of 3.9 percent.

TSA announced last week that 76 percent of the 40,000 employees working under the Performance Accountability and Standards System will receive performance-based payouts, meaning their supervisors rated the quality of their work as three or more on a five-point scale. Almost a third of those employees -- 32 percent -- received a rating of four, meaning they will earn a 2 percent performance-based increase and a $1,500 bonus. The 17 percent who received top ratings will get a 4 percent performance-based raise and a $2,500 bonus.

Special bonuses ranging from $600 to $1,500 also will be paid to high-performing dual-function officers as well as officers who received a high score on an image detection test, the agency said.

These pay hikes will supplement, not replace, an across-the-board raise of 3.9 percent, which will be granted to all TSA employees. The governmentwide adjustment will vary by locality pay area and "will be announced in a separate communication," TSA said.

In March, TSA announced it would make changes to PASS, including temporarily eliminating a test that measures screeners' knowledge of standard operating procedures, and replacing the system's five rating categories, such as "role model" or "exceeds standards," with numeric scores. TSA incorporated those modifications in the 2008 performance process.

Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said on Monday that TSA's report of "minuscule merit pay increases" buttresses the union's efforts to urge the new administration to issue a directive providing security officers with collective bargaining rights and placing them on the General Schedule, the pay system covering the bulk of federal employees.

"There are no alternatives for collective bargaining and a pay system that employees can view with clarity and trust," Kelley said. "PASS remains a poor substitute for what really is lacking at TSA -- a performance appraisal system that is transparent and credible with all TSA employees, and quality leadership that solicits, values and acts upon the ideas of front-line workers."

Kelley added that most of the TSA officers represented by NTEU are in Band D of the PASS system, and salaries range from $23,836 to $35,754. "The PASS increases and the January pay raise are on top of a low base salary and therefore amount to little when broken down per pay period," she said.

A.J. Castilla, a spokesman for the American Federation of Government Employees TSA Local 1, said on Tuesday that PASS is "badly flawed," largely because employees must work alongside others who might be known to earn 10 percent to 15 percent more. He also said favoritism and cronyism are common under the pay system.

Castilla called for President-elect Barack Obama to review the program, and said Obama should seriously consider moving TSA employees back to the General Schedule in 2009.

"Where's the respect for this workforce?" Castilla asked. "They haven't lost one life or one plane in more than six years. These people have to get the respect in pay, and I'm hoping that we get that review next year."

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.