Despite the rhetoric around federal pay rising to the level of a campaign issue, and increasing pressure to trim the federal budget, today’s hearing in the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and Labor Policy is titled “Are Federal Workers Underpaid?”
Subcommittee chair Rep. Dennis Ross, (R-Fla) told Federal News Radio the hearing is not intended as a vilification of the federal workforce. “Believe me it’s not. I am very grateful to those that have made a career out of the federal workforce in doing and performing essential functions.”
Instead, said Ross, the hearing is “a fact finding approach to not only the compensation of the federal workforce as it relates to the private sector, but also the tools necessary to make sure that we retain…recruit, retain and reward the best and the brightest in the federal system.”
But rest assured, cuts will be coming.
“Coming off this election cycle in 2010, the 800 pound gorilla in the room is, you know, compensation for federal workers,” said Ross, “and I think we need to be honest with everybody and address this as soon as we can. You know there’s a lot of mixed data, there’s a lot of opinions across the board. And so if we can act as a fact finding board, as a fact finding committee, to really address this issue, resolve this issue, and then, I think from there, we can move on to other issues that concern…you know the issues of furloughs and other cost cutting methods for federal employments.”
Ross added he “doesn’t want to see us have to go that route,” of cutting federal employee pay and benefits. Ross has said in the past he supports a pay-for-performance system for federal employees. Today’s hearing on federal pay, Ross told the Federal Times on March 3rd, is “my first step” toward that goal.
He told the Federal Drive, “I don’t have a hidden agenda. I’m not out there to vilify a workforce or a union or anybody else. I’m out there to make sure that we’re all successful in our efforts to make sure we have the best workforce doing the best job in the best country.”
Tom Temin is the host of The Federal Drive, which airs from 6-9 a.m. on 1500 AM in the Washington, DC region and online everywhere. Tom has 30 years experience in journalism, mostly in technology markets. Before coming to Federal News Radio, he was a long-serving editor-in-chief of Government Computer News and Washington Technology magazines.