House backs unpaid leave for senior execs under investigation

Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

A proposal to allow federal agencies to place senior civil servants accused of wrongdoing on unpaid leave cleared the House Wednesday by a 402-2 vote.

The Government Employee Accountability Act would allow agencies to put Senior Executive Service employees on unpaid administrative leave for up to 180 days if they are accused of misappropriation of funds or other job-related misconduct.

The bill -- sponsored by Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa. -- stemmed from the General Services Administration’s notoriously lavish Las Vegas conference in 2010. Jeff Neely, the GSA senior executive who planned the conference, was put on paid leave while under investigation. He has since left the agency.

The legislation includes a provision to offer back pay to an executive found innocent of misconduct.

“The Government Employee Accountability Act gives agency heads more choices when handling cases of misconduct among SES employees,” Kelly said in a statement, “and gives the American people the reassurance that when serious and flagrant abuses occur, there will be accountability and more options will be on table.”

 Reps. Jim Moran, D-Va., and Doris Matsui, D-Calif., voted against the bill. 

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