The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

26 July 2005

Getting what you pay for

The Bush administration is making noises about abolishing the General Schedule pay system and implementing merit-pay evaluations.

Clay Johnson III, of the Office and Management and Budget:

The federal government, as a rule, is pretty bad about managing people. We tend to treat people and manage our people as if they are bureaucrats. "They are all the same, let's treat them all the same." The goal is to treat them, and to think of them, as professional public servants, not as bureaucrats.... Until we can tie some small portion of pay to it, it will never happen.

Government-employee unions responded exactly the way you think they would. Brian DeWyngaert, chief of staff to AFGE president John Gage:

[This proposal] is meant to erode federal pay and future retirement security for middle-class federal workers over time. They have no data whatsoever to indicate that this will improve organizational performance.

Asked if there had been any studies on whether summer is warmer than winter, an AFGE spokesman declined comment.

(From And Rightly So!, by way of the Cotillion.)

Posted at 7:35 AM to Political Science Fiction


I would love love love to see something done with the GS system...it is arguably the most bureaucratic, red-taped, administratively-burdened system I've encountered.

Posted by: david at 9:20 AM on 26 July 2005

Thanks for the Cotillon props;-)

Posted by: sadie at 1:45 PM on 26 July 2005

Excellent article! Thanks!

Posted by: buddyhackett at 7:39 PM on 26 July 2005

I'm a civilian employee for the Navy and at my command, they are going to be switching us from the GS system to the new system (called NSPS). It sounds good on the surface -- being merit based and all. However, a lot of us are concerned about how merit will be determined. Will it depend on how good your work is (which would be great)? Or will it depend on who you know and what butts you're willing to smooch (no so great)? Naturally, people are concerned that the new system will not be fair in the way it awards people.

What doesn't help is that several years ago, they got rid of the old merit system that actually rated employees according to the quality of your work. They replaced it with this politically correct "Accepable" and "Unacceptable" bullcrap. This means that hard-working, smart people are just as "Accepable" as the barely competent dead-wood types. You would have to really be a loser to get an "Unacceptable".

Posted by: Susan B. at 8:29 AM on 27 July 2005