SEA Urges Secretary Shinseki to Stop Terrible Precedent of Rescinding SES Performance Awards

Although SEA does not have direct line of sight into the specifics of the Helman case, the move today by Secretary Shinseki to rescind a performance award that was subjected to appropriate review and approval processes sets a terrible precedent of an agency caving to congressional and media pressure.

Aside from the question of whether it is even legal to rescind a performance award, this continues the recent trend of assuming Senior Executives are guilty of any alleged wrongdoing on the basis of media reports and congressional statements and prior to the completion of an investigation.

The performance appraisals of Senior Executives and recommendations for their performance awards undergo rigorous review and oversight. Performance awards are discretionary and Performance Review Boards, as well as agency heads, must sign off before an award is granted. This process ensures that a Senior Executive has met criteria laid out in annual performance plans that speak to individual as well as organizational performance.

Rescinding performance awards without any finding of wrongdoing should not be allowed. SEA calls on Secretary Shinseki to reconsider this action and to ensure that the integrity of the SES pay and performance management system is upheld and that Senior Executives receive fair treatment.

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.