Statement by the Senior Executives Association on OFFP’s Announcement to Increase the Benchmark Compensation Amount for Contract Executives

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy announced that the “benchmark compensation amount” for contractor executives and employees would rise to $952,308 next year. The contractor executive cap is benchmarked against compensation figures for large private sector companies with over $50 million in annual sales. With nearly 70% of federal career Senior Executives managing programs with budgets in excess of $50 million, contractor executives and career federal executives function in comparable roles.

The formula used to benchmark the contractor executive compensation cap was created to ensure that those executives are fairly compensated for their work and that the industry stays competitive with the private sector. The same cannot be said for the compensation for federal career Senior Executives.

The media and Congress have claimed that Senior Executives are overpaid and have targeted the performance awards received by many of the highest performing Senior Executives. However, as illustrated by the contractor executive salary cap, Senior Executives in the federal government make far less than their contractor executive counterparts.

SEA President Carol Bonosaro said, “SEA believes that it is time that Congress stop attacking the pay and performance awards for Senior Executives. This is unproductive and will only push the federal government’s top executives to take their talents, skills, and knowledge of government operations to private industry where they can earn in excess of five times their federal salaries, without being attacked by Congress and the media.

If the federal government and Congress see fit to provide nearly one million dollars in compensation to contractor executives and employees, it is high time to re-evaluate the market competitiveness of the compensation offered to government executives. At a time when the federal government needs to retain and attract top quality executives and managers to oversee increasingly complex programs and missions, its ability to do so is severely hindered by pernicious pay compression, pay and hiring freezes, and rhetoric that seek to paint all things government as inherently bad. The American people expect and deserve improved management of the federal government, but they will never get it so long as policies are put in place that denigrate the best and brightest of the career executive corps.”

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.