AUTHOR ARCHIVES

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.
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Federal Union Accuses VA Official of Illegal Taping of Deliberations

September 5, 2018 A federal employee union on Wednesday accused the management negotiating team at the Veterans Affairs Department of surreptitiously recording the union negotiators’ private conversations. Last week, National Federation of Federal Employees officials met with VA's management representatives in Atlanta for discussions over which parts of an existing collective bargaining agreement...

A Pay Freeze in Doubt, and Back Pay for Fired VA Employees

September 5, 2018 As Congress last week prepared to negotiate whether to provide federal civilian employees with a 1.9 percent pay increase next year, President Trump introduced additional uncertainty to the conversation. Just one day after following up on his fiscal 2019 budget plan with a formal proposal to freeze federal workers’ pay,...

Trump Appears to Waver on Pay Freeze

September 4, 2018 Just 24 hours after formalizing his plan to freeze the pay of civilian federal employees, President Trump appeared open to backtracking on the proposal. Last Thursday, Trump issued an alternative pay plan that would freeze federal workers’ pay at 2018 levels, a move required by the end of August to...

Most TSP Funds Grow Modestly in August

September 4, 2018 Most portfolios in the federal government’s 401(k)-style retirement savings program saw modest gains last month, building on a strong July showing. Leading the pack in August was the Thrift Savings Plan’s S Fund, which gained 4.57 percent. Since January the portfolio, invested in small- and mid-size businesses, has grown 12.84...

MSPB Highlights Best Practices in Performance Management

August 31, 2018 The Merit Systems Protection Board offered advice Wednesday on how best to improve employees’ performance, encouraging managers to provide “continuous” feedback and discouraging micromanagement. In a research brief, the MSPB said employees are most poised to thrive when offered a “balance of feedback and autonomy.” Although the government primarily operates...

Trump Formalizes Federal Pay Freeze Plan for 2019

August 30, 2018 President Trump on Thursday formally announced that he would pursue a pay freeze for civilian federal employees in 2019, increasing the likelihood of a fight with Congress next month. Trump needed to formalize an alternative compensation plan for 2019 by tomorrow, or else a 25 percent increase in locality pay...

OPM Instructs Agencies to Comply With Court Decision on Workforce Executive Orders

August 29, 2018 The Office of Personnel Management on Wednesday issued guidance instructing agencies to roll back any already implemented provisions of President Trump’s controversial workforce executive orders that are in violation of a recent court decision that found the meat of the orders to be unlawful. In a memo to agencies, OPM...

OPM Concedes Defeat on Retirement Cuts, and CFPB Encourages Credit Monitoring for Military

August 29, 2018 Office of Personnel Management Director Jeff Pon appears to believe that a controversial proposal to cut federal employees’ retirement benefits stands little chance of becoming law, according to news reports. According to Federal Times, Pon said a proposal he sent to House Speaker Paul Ryan earlier this year to significantly...

Watchdog Finds Faults with Hanford Workers’ Comp

August 28, 2018 The Energy Department watchdog announced last week that it found the department has not exercised necessary oversight over its workers’ compensation program for contractors at the Hanford, Wash., nuclear site, leading to more than $21 million in missed payments to state agencies. An audit by Energy’s Office of the Inspector...

Unions Demand Swift Reversal of Agency Policies After Court Decision

August 27, 2018 Federal employee unions on Monday demanded that agencies roll back recent changes to workplace policies after a federal judge ruled that most of the key provisions in President Trump’s recent workforce executive orders violated federal law. Over the weekend, U.S. District Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson issued a 122-page ruling...