Reconsidering the General Schedule

House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. House subcommittee on Oversight and Reform

The “appropriateness” of the General Schedule pay system is up for review.

In an April 18 letter obtained by Government Executive, three members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee asked the Government Accountability Office to report on “the extent to which [the GS system] addresses critical skills gaps and its ability to appropriately compensate employees who achieve results.”

Reps. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, asked GAO to examine trends in the GS system and to help “identify the attributes of a modern” system.  GAO should refer to experts, including academics, think-tank scholars, officials at certain federal agencies, federal employee organizations, and “state and foreign governments,” the letter said.

“The GS system was developed in l949 when more than 75 percent of federal workers held clerical positions in grades GS-7 or below,” the lawmakers wrote. “Much has changed since that time, including the nature of agency work.”

A source told The Washington Post that GAO was likely to begin work on the report in May.

Federal employees are in the third consecutive year of a pay freeze, and some analysts argue now is the time to institute a new pay system that could be in place by the time agencies are able to grant pay raises. President Obama’s fiscal 2014 budget proposal includes a 1 percent salary increase for civilian employees, a proposition that may be dead on arrival for congressional Republicans.  

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