SEA Calls DoD Decision Severely Cutting 2013 SES Performance Awards “Penny-wise and Pound Foolish”

Washington, D.C. - On December 5, the Senior Executives Association (SEA) wrote the Secretary of Defense regarding recently announced DoD-wide funding guidance that severely reduces pay pool amounts for the payment of Fiscal Year 2013 performance awards to high performing career Senior Executive (SES) and Senior Professional (Scientific and Technical, and Senior Level) employees. The new policy further reduces the pay pool amounts from the current permissible maximum of 5 percent of aggregate career employee salaries of executives to a maximum of one percent. And, it limits the payment of awards to only those Senior Executives and Professionals whose performance is rated at the very highest levels of DoD’s rating scale.

The letter stated, “This situation is of grave concern to SEA in that this drastic reduction is at odds with government-wide guidance issued jointly by the Director of OMB and the Acting Director of OPM on November 1, 2013. That guidance called on federal agency heads to place funding limits on SES and SP pay pools for FY 2013 at 5% of respective aggregate career employee salaries – the same level as for FY 2012.”

In a statement, SEA President Carol Bonosaro urged the Secretary to restore full funding for performance awards, referring to DoD’s policy as “penny-wise and pound foolish at best.” She said, “career SES and SP executives do not enjoy the same type of employment security and longevity-based pay raises granted to employees in the GS schedule - making their performance awards programs all the more important in ensuring fair compensation for the extra risk and difficulty involved in highly demanding jobs.” She further noted, “DoD’s announced policy runs the risk of accelerating the retirement, resignation and transfer to other agencies of some of the Department’s most experienced and effective senior managerial and professional talent.”

The Senior Executives Association (SEA) is a professional association representing Senior Executive Service members and other career federal executives. Founded in 1980, SEA’s goals are: to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and productivity of the federal government; to advance the professionalism and advocate the interests of career federal executives; and to enhance public recognition of their contributions. The SEA Professional Development League (PDL) is a nonprofit educational organization committed to advancing the professionalism of career federal executives through the sponsorship of training, recognition, and research activities.