Senior Executives Association Statement on President’s FY2019 Budget Plan

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Bill Valdez, President of the Senior Executives Association – the professional association responsible for representing, convening, and cultivating members of the Senior Executive Service (and SES-equivalents) across the federal government – released the following statement in response to the release of President Donald Trump’s FY2019 budget proposal.

“Much of the language included in the president’s budget proposal rightly identifies many of the impediments our federal government confronts on a daily basis, while also correctly recognizing that the solutions will require a long-term commitment, rather than mere Band-Aids,” said Valdez.

“The effectiveness of our government will continue to be limited so long as we can neither recruit new, top talent, nor adequately train and retain the talent we have already hired. Our government must better position itself to modernize and compete in the global labor market. And a slew of both administrative and statutory reforms will be necessary to refresh our approach to maintaining – and continuing to develop and grow – a world-class, non-partisan government workforce. The president’s budget importantly touches on each of these key components of civil service reform.

“Yet even as the budget proposal suggests that our national and homeland security requires additional staffing in the military and along our borders, the budget reiterates penny-wise and pound-foolish proposals to enact federal pay freezes and retirement cuts. Reneging on promises made to federal annuitants -- who planned their careers and retirements based on a set of commitments from their employer – should be a nonstarter,” Valdez continued. “Put simply, we will neither attract, nor retain an innovative and talented 21st century federal workforce by undertaking a race to the bottom on federal pay and benefits.

Valdez concluded, “I am heartened to see that the administration seems to solidly grasp many of the systemic challenges underlying the structure of our civil service system. However, as with any reform effort, the devil is in the details. Good governance should not be a partisan issue and it is imperative that we maintain an open dialog and ensure we get the details precisely right. Our membership of distinguished, career federal leaders across the federal government stands ready to lend its expertise to this developing conversation.”