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Pay and Benefits Watch: On the legislative horizon

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The House panel that deals with federal pay and benefits has a new staff lineup for 2000.

Garry Ewing, formerly counsel for the House Government Reform Committee's Civil Service Subcommittee, is now the staff director for the panel. He replaces outgoing staff director George Nesterczuk. Ned Lynch, senior research director, has also left the subcommittee.

Jennifer Hemingway, who last year served as policy director for the subcommittee and was on the personal staff of subcommittee chairman Rep. Joe Scarborough, R-Fla., is deputy director now. Former Justice Department attorney Miguel Serrano is the panel's new counsel.

While faces have changed at the subcommittee, the issues they're dealing with have stayed the same.

Ewing said the subcommittee has three outstanding issues to deal with from last year: a bill to fix pension errors for several thousand federal employees, a slate of proposals for giving federal workers long-term care insurance coverage, and a bill to reauthorize the Office of Government Ethics.

Ewing said he couldn't say whether there would be new legislative initiatives. The subcommittee's schedule has not been set, either.

The Federal Managers Association, meanwhile, is pushing several outstanding legislative proposals that were not passed last year. FMA legislative director Mark Gable and his new legislative assistant, Didier Trinh, are pushing Congress to give federal managers more overtime pay. FMA is hoping Congress will pass H.R. 582, sponsored by Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., which would increase the amount of overtime pay managers could collect.

Also on FMA's agenda are proposals to increase the limit on employee contributions to their Thrift Savings Plan accounts, lessen the impact of the Social Security windfall elimination provision and government pension offset on federal retirees, provide long-term care insurance to federal workers and give managers supervisory pay differentials to ensure managers are paid more than their subordinates.

The Senior Executives Association, meanwhile, continues to push for higher pay for members of the Senior Executive Service. While SESers got a raise this year, a cap on executive pay has left SESers at the top three pay levels-and in some locations the top four levels-with the same pay rates. The association, represented by general counsel G. Jerry Shaw on Capitol Hill, wants Congress to "substantially raise the cap on SES and SES equivalent pay in order to end pay compression and to attract and retain experienced, highly qualified career executives," according to the association's January newsletter.

Brian Friel is founder of One Nation Analytics, an independent research, analytics and consulting firm for the federal market.

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