SEA Opposes SES Accountability Act; Suggests Legislation is a Solution in Search of a Problem

Today, the Senior Executives Association (SEA) shared its opposition to H.R. 5169, the Senior Executive Service (SES) Accountability Act, with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (click here to read the letter).

Calling the bill "a solution in search of a problem," SEA opposed several provisions in the bill and questioned their necessity.

"As a hearing on the viability of the SES on July 11th highlighted, there are critical challenges facing the SES and the system is in need of reform. What is not needed are piecemeal efforts aimed at making it easier to fire Senior Executives based on faulty perceptions that there are not tools already available to hold them accountable for poor performance," stated Carol Bonosaro, SEA's president.

SEA has long advocated for reforms to the system and has also agreed that problem employees at all levels of government should be held accountable, including criminally prosecuted where offenses merit such action. However, SEA believes that the current spate of bills being considered by Congress that focus solely on ways to more easily remove Senior Executives miss the mark and are based on a desire by Congress to have a say in who is guilty and who should be fired.

"Of late, Senior Executives have been under enormous scrutiny and deemed by Congress as guilty until proven innocent for a variety of issues that are playing out in the media. Of course the story that is not told is of the thousands things done by Senior Executives on a daily basis that make the government work better for the citizens of this country. Changing laws based on the perceptions of a few high profile cases is not the way to make good policy," continued Bonosaro.

Until all stakeholders are able to work together and dig into the policy issues surrounding the system and possible reforms, and until we put an emphasis on employee training and development to ensure existing policies are implemented correctly, the only thing that piecemeal legislation will do is make the system less workable, encourage talented, able executives to retire and discourage highly qualified candidates from applying for their positions. In the end, services to taxpayers will suffer. SEA calls on Congress to have a meaningful discussion of reform absent of political optics and campaign rhetoric.