Author Archive

Erich Wagner

Erich Wagner

Erich Wagner is a staff correspondent covering pay, benefits and other federal workforce issues. He joined Government Executive in the spring of 2017 after extensive experience writing about state and local issues in Maryland and Virginia, most recently as editor-in-chief of the Alexandria Times. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.
Erich Wagner is a staff correspondent covering pay, benefits and other federal workforce issues. He joined Government Executive in the spring of 2017 after extensive experience writing about state and local issues in Maryland and Virginia, most recently as editor-in-chief of the Alexandria Times. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.
Management

Agencies to Have Wide Latitude In Deciding Which Jobs to Strip of Civil Service Protections

OPM issued initial instructions Friday for implementing a Trump executive order that allows federal policy-making positions to be converted from career jobs to at-will appointments.

Management

Governance Experts Assail White House Effort to Strip Federal Employees of Rights

Good government groups, unions and lawmakers were nearly unanimous in their scorching criticism of an executive order that could strip protections for hundreds of thousands and politicize the federal workforce.

Management

‘Stunning’ Executive Order Would Politicize Civil Service

President Trump signs directive that would potentially pull thousands of federal employees in "policy-making" positions out of the competitive service, making them at-will employees.

Pay & Benefits

Salary Council: Federal Workers Make 23% Less than Private Sector Counterparts

The advisory council on federal compensation recommended that Carroll County, Ill., be added to the Davenport-Moline, Iowa-Ill., locality pay area.

Management

Trump Administration Requests Info on Contractor Diversity Training as Officials Seek to Clarify What’s Allowed

Federal officials now say at least some unconscious bias training is all right under a recent controversial executive order.

Pay & Benefits

Lawmakers Seek to Increase Retiree COLA for Next Year to 3%

Legislation would set the annual increase in Social Security and federal retiree annuities at 3%, rather than the 1.3% increase currently slated for 2021, and would permanently increase adjustments in future years.

Management

Impasses Panel, Union Debate Appellate Court Decision’s Impact on Appointments Challenge

Government attorneys cited a recent D.C. Circuit Court decision in support of the argument that appointees to the Federal Service Impasses Panel should not require Senate confirmation.

Management

OPM Finalizes Rule on Trump Executive Order to Ease Firing and Discipline of Feds

Regulations set to go into effect next month will implement several key provisions of President Trump’s executive order.

Management

White VA Employees Twice as Likely to Be Promoted as Black Workers

The American Federation of Government Employees said Thursday that new data it obtained via the Freedom of Information Act underscores its allegations of systemic racism pervading the Veterans Affairs Department.

Pay & Benefits

Feds Will Pay 4.9% More Toward Health Care Premiums Next Year

The Office of Personnel Management said Wednesday that it has revamped its online plan comparison tool and encouraged greater transparency from insurance carriers to tamp down on surprise billing.

Pay & Benefits

Retiree COLA Set at 1.3% Next Year, Prompting Calls for Change

Organization calls on Congress to shift the metric upon which annual cost of living adjustments for Social Security and federal retirement benefits are based from the general price of goods to one that takes into account spending by the elderly.

Pay & Benefits

Senate Democrats Introduce Bill to Make Payroll Tax Deferral Optional

Legislation requiring workers, including federal employees and military service members, to consent in writing to have their Social Security taxes deferred between now and the end of the year has the support of nearly 20 employee groups.

Pay & Benefits

OPM Seeks to Limit Back Pay Awards for Employees, Unions

Officials at the Office of Personnel Management want to upend a nearly 40-year-old set of regulations, restricting which actions are subject to grievances under the Back Pay Act, and banning unions from being awarded attorney's fees when their members win their cases.

Management

Civil Rights Groups Pressure VA Ahead of GAO Racism Audit

GAO has agreed to investigate the prevalence racism at the Veterans Affairs Department after a survey revealed that the vast majority of bargaining unit employees had either experienced or witnessed acts of discrimination on the job.

Pay & Benefits

Lawmakers Revive Push to Make Feds’ Payroll Tax Deferral Optional

The effort to pressure the Trump administration into allowing federal employees to opt out of the controversial initiative to delay collection of Social Security taxes until next year is now bipartisan.

Pay & Benefits

Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Protect All Feds’ Leave Following COVID

Although OPM’s current policy only waives the 30-day annual leave cap for essential employees who are unable to use their leave due to their duties responding to the coronavirus pandemic, Democrats in Congress want to extend the waiver to all federal workers.

Management

OPM Memo Puts Pause on Diversity Training Across Government

The Trump administration is pushing forward with its controversial purge of training it deems “un-American.”

Management

Labor Authority Abandons Decades of Precedent, Eviscerates Union Bargaining Rights

Across multiple decisions on Wednesday, the agency that governs federal sector labor law removed unions’ right to midterm bargaining and made it harder for unions to demand agencies bargain over changes to working conditions.