Senate Panel Looks at Feds’ Job Satisfaction During Public Service Week

Lawmakers will explore how budget cuts and furloughs have affected the federal workforce. Lawmakers will explore how budget cuts and furloughs have affected the federal workforce. igor kisselev/Shutterstock.com

A Senate panel on Tuesday will explore the impact budget cuts and furloughs have had on the federal workforce, as well as what some agencies are doing to keep employees happy.

The hearing, scheduled during Public Service Recognition Week, also will examine the much-talked about annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey which measures the job satisfaction of the federal workforce. The Office of Personnel Management has started emailing the 2014 federal workforce survey to employees across government, soliciting feedback on compensation, morale and job satisfaction.

Federal workers have until early June to complete the questionnaire. Some results will be available in late August, with full results announced in the fall.

It’s been a rough few years for federal workers, who have had to contend with sequestration, a 16-day government shutdown, and numerous legislative efforts to reduce their compensation -- not to mention high-profile controversies at agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service, Veterans Affairs Department and Secret Service.

Tuesday’s hearing will feature two panels of witnesses. The first group will include OPM Director Katherine Archuleta; Federal Labor Relations Authority Chairwoman Carol Waller Pope; Jeri Buchholz, NASA’s assistant administrator for human capital management; and Paige Hinkle-Bowles, the Defense Department’s deputy assistant secretary for civilian personnel policy. The second panel will feature federal employee advocates: J. David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees; Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union; Carol Bonosaro, president of the Senior Executives Association; and Max Stier, president and CEO of the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service.

The Senate subcommittee posted the testimony of Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, on its website. Adler said  that the “almost relentless verbal assaults as overpaid and underperforming bureaucrats,” as well as threats to compensation, jobs and continued budget cuts, have “taken a heavy toll on federal law enforcement officers’ morale and on agency recruitment and retention efforts.” Adler said the government needs to prioritize the management of the federal workforce. “It is no easy, quick or inexpensive thing to recruit, vet, train, and assign an individual to a federal law enforcement position,” his submitted testimony said. “Particularly if it is in response to an imminent threat or to a catastrophic natural or manmade disaster.”

The hearing will be webcast on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs website.

(Image via igor kisselev/Shutterstock.com)

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