Author Archive

Erich Wagner

Erich Wagner

Erich Wagner is a senior correspondent covering pay, benefits, organized labor 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 senior correspondent covering pay, benefits, organized labor 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

Senate bill aims to streamline how agencies respond to wildfires

Much like the workforce-focused wildfire bill introduced last week in the House, the EMBER Act draws its provisions from the recommendations of a recent bipartisan commission report.

Pay & Benefits

Biden’s 2% raise more likely upon advancement of Senate defense policy bill

The Senate Armed Services Committee last week advanced its version of the fiscal 2025 National Defense Authorization Act, endorsing a 2% average pay raise for civilian federal workers alongside a 4.5% increase for military service members.

Exclusive Workforce

Martin O’Malley is on a one-year sprint to save Social Security

Despite shaking up the culture one of Washington’s most risk-averse agencies, the former governor said his biggest task is convincing Congress to reinvest in the Social Security Administration’s administrative overhead.

Pay & Benefits

Feds are still slated for a 2% average pay raise in 2025 per House appropriations bill

The House Appropriations Committee advanced legislation Thursday that failed to override President Biden’s 2025 pay plan.

Workforce

Republicans block expanded in vitro fertilization coverage for feds in House and Senate

Senate Democrats failed to secure the 60 votes needed to bypass a GOP filibuster, while House Democrats saw a similar provision defanged in appropriations talks.

Workforce

Lawmakers unveil a new plan to revamp federal wildfire prevention and mitigation

The Modernizing Wildfire Safety and Prevention Act would create a new Middle Fire Leaders Academy to rapidly bolster the ranks of federal wildland firefighters.

Oversight

IRS is reducing its physical footprint but needs a better long-term plan, its IG says

The IRS has reduced its office space by 2 million square feet since fiscal 2018, but the watchdog said it could save millions in real estate costs with additional steps.

Pay & Benefits

OPM’s retirement backlog hit an 8-year low last month

Efforts to streamline the processing of departing federal workers’ retirement applications continue to pay dividends, as the inventory of pending claims hit the lowest point since 2016.

Workforce

Bush-era national security officials warn against Schedule F

In a letter to congressional committee staff directors, a cadre of former Republican appointees urged lawmakers to pursue a “middle ground” of federal employee accountability that preserves merit systems principles.

Pay & Benefits

Senate plans swift action on IVF bill containing new requirements for FEHBP

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday that he had already begun the process of bringing a legislative package aimed at protecting Americans’ access to assistive reproductive technology to the floor for a vote.

Workforce

EPA union ratifies contract to protect employees’ scientific integrity

The deal also locks in a maximum of four days per week of telework, though labor leaders said that the agency will likely want to renegotiate the benefit after two years.

Pay & Benefits

TSP funds all bounced back in May

After a rough April, each of the portfolios in the federal government’s 401(k)-style retirement savings program finished last month in the black.

Management

OPM reminds agencies of burrowing rules ahead of election season

All proposed appointments to career competitive service or Senior Executive Service positions must be reviewed by the federal government’s dedicated HR agency.

Pay & Benefits

Problem Solvers Caucus throws its weight behind an effort to kill the windfall elimination provision

Some lawmakers have spent years garnering support to repeal a controversial tax rule that cuts Social Security benefits for some public servants.

Workforce

OPM’s new acting director defends federal telework, anti-Schedule F regulations

Rob Shriver defended the Biden administration’s workforce policies, citing new data suggesting fewer federal employees telework than their private sector counterparts.

Workforce

Governance experts launch a group to oppose Schedule F

The new organization hopes to offer a consensus way forward on civil service reform issues in addition to opposing efforts to politicize the federal workforce.

Workforce

Federal agencies’ engagement and morale bounced back in 2023, according to annual rankings

The Partnership for Public Service’s annual Best Places to Work in the Federal Government report found that roughly two-thirds of federal agencies saw boosts in employee engagement and job satisfaction last year.

Workforce

OPM announces new 'safe leave' for domestic violence victims

Federal workers may now take paid leave to address issues related to their or a family member’s safety or to recover from domestic violence, abuse or harassment, under new guidance from the government’s dedicated HR agency.

Workforce

TSA and AFGE ink their first contract under expanded collective bargaining rules

After two decades of abridged or no collective bargaining rights, frontline Transportation Security Administration finally enjoy similar rights to their colleagues elsewhere in government.

Workforce

As one telework reform measure advances, another is delayed

A measure that would codify remote work in the U.S. Code and improve telework data reporting advanced by a 9-2 margin in Senate committee, but consideration of another bill aimed at improving telework data was postponed.