Senior executives urge Obama to leave feds out of fiscal cliff deal

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

The group representing the government’s senior executives urged President Obama on Thursday to leave federal employees out of any budget deficit deals.

Efforts to reduce federal employees’ pay and benefits are taking a toll on the government workforce, said officials from the Senior Executives Association in a Nov. 29 letter to Obama. The group cited the 2012 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, which showed a dip in job satisfaction among career civil servants, as evidence that the pay freeze and other proposals affecting federal benefits are having an adverse effect on morale.

“SEA hears from its members that the continuous focus on reducing federal employee pay and benefits has lowered morale throughout their agencies,” wrote SEA President Carol A. Bonosaro and General Counsel William Bransford in the letter. “The [employee viewpoint survey] bears out this fact. Not only will this lead to recruitment and retention problems, but the reality is that further cuts to federal employee pay and benefits will not significantly reduce the deficit.”

Bonosaro and Bransford asked Obama not to use feds “as the quick way out of the budget deficit, only to have the unintended consequence of a later increase in spending that will arise because of a loss of talent.”

Several federal employee advocates have expressed concern during the past few weeks that a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff could include an extended federal pay freeze, an increase in the amount federal workers contribute to their pensions, or other similar changes to federal salaries and benefits.

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