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Federal Employees News Digest : March 18, 2013
Kristi Dougherty General Manager Phil Piemonte Managing Editor Sherkiya Wedgeworth Online Managing Editor Becky Fenton Circulation Manager Nathan Abse Writer Mike Causey Columnist Edward Zurndorfer Columnist Published by 1105 Government Information Group, Anne Armstrong, President. 1105 Government Information Group is part of 1105 Media, Inc. Neal Vitale, CEO. Corporate Headquarters: 1105 Media, Inc. 9201 Oakdale Ave., Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311 www.1105media.com Office: 8609 Westwood Center Drive, Suite 500 Vienna, VA 22182-2215 Phone: Editorial: (703) 891-8554 Subscriptions: (800) 989-3363 Fax: (703) 876-5130 Internet: www.FederalDaily.com Subscription Rates: 1 year---$99 Site Licenses are available: E-mail: FENDsitelicense@ FederalDaily.com For single article reprints (in minimum quantities of 250-500), e-prints, plaques and posters contact: PARS International Phone: (212) 221-9595 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.magreprints.com/QuickQuote.asp The Comptroller General has ruled that federal agen- cies and departments may buy Federal Employees News Digest publications with government funds. This decision is No. B-185591. Federal Tax ID 20-4583700. DUNS #612031414. FEDERAL EMPLOYEES NEWS DIGEST (ISSN 1065-0970) is published weekly except first week in January and last week in December by 1105 Media, Inc., 9201 Oakdale Avenue, Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311. Annual subscription rate is: US $99. Subscription inquiries and customer service: Mail to: Federal Employees News Digest, PO Box 15428, N. Hollywood, CA 91615-5428, customerservice@feder- aldaily.com or call (800) 989-3363, fax (818) 487-4550. © Copyright 2013 by 1105 Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproductions or distribution in whole or part prohibited except by site license or reprint purchase. The information in this newsletter has not undergone any formal testing by 1105 Media, Inc. and is dis- tributed without any warranty expressed or implied. Implementation or use of any information contained herein is the reader's sole responsibility. While the information has been reviewed for accuracy, there is no guarantee that the same or similar results may be achieved in all environments. Technical inaccuracies may result from printing errors and/or new develop- ments in the industry. This publication's subscriber list, as well as other lists from 1105 Media, Inc., is available for rental. For more information, please contact our list manager, Merit Direct. Phone: (914) 368-1000; E-mail: 1105media@ meritdirect.com; Web: www.meritdirect.com/1105. March 18, 2013 Vol. 62, No. 33 2 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com its ugly (to some) head again. Ever since the Carter years, it had been tried, then abandoned. Again and again. Most people favor paying top performers what they are worth. And rewarding them over less outstanding workers. We are Americans and we believe in rewards for excellence. In theory. In practice, however, it is tough. The problem is devising a system that is fair, then convincing the majority of workers--- who won't get, and may not deserve the higher rewards---that the system is fair. Yet Congress and the White House did it again. Millions were spent (mostly ben- efiting private contractors who "trained" federal agencies on how to reward the best). The Defense Department took the lead in its NSPS (National Security Personnel System). Because of union objections, DOD applied NSPS only to workers who were outside of union bargaining units. About 200,000 were cycled into the system. Over the years that it lasted, many of them got much better raises than their GS col- leagues outside the system. When the Democrats took over, NSPS---which federal unions fought for years---was repealed, everybody was recy- cled back and pay for performance was dead. Until the next time. The point my friend and many others made was that pay for performance is NOT what is happening in the private sector. In union shops, everybody gets the same percentage pay raise. Merit may be rewarded in some places, in relatively small ways. But not with pay raises or higher pay. Yet proponents of merit pay for the government argued consistently---and wrongly---that it was the way business does business. In fact, most places give employees the same (sometimes union- negotiated) raises. The same argument has been made about teleworking. Government was slow to adopt it, for a variety of reasons. Old- fashioned supervisors, who wanted to be able to eyeball workers, were blamed for telework's slow start. Then there was the issue of who would install equipment in people's homes. That made sense, some- what, in the 1980s when many didn't have home computers or other such devices. Now it is not an issue. Some agencies, Defense among them, wondered about liability issues when people worked at home. What if they were injured in their home office? Would the government be held liable? Should super- visors make surprise home visits to see that things were safe, clean and tidy? Those concerns faded and teleworking has prospered. Again the government is being told that it is way behind the private sector. That it should do more teleworking because it's good business. But teleworking got a big jump start several years back when Congress changed the rules to say that it was up to agen- cies to identify who should not telework. Before that agencies had more limited lists because they identified which people and jobs could telework. Even as teleworking was expanding in government, some in the private sector are beginning to seriously question its effectiveness. Among them is Marissa Mayer, the new CEO of Yahoo (of all places). She wants everybody back in the office, where people must look each other in the eye, bump into each other by accident and collaborate. Real people with real ideas. Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen applauded the de-emphasis on tele- working in a column entitled "Magic At The Water Cooler." Another Post colum- nist, Kathleen Parker, wrote that it made sense, saying that Mayer "clearly believes that making her talented workers convene in the same physical space is crucial to improving performance." So is it happening again? Is Uncle Sam just getting on the teleworking bandwagon as a best practice when the private sector, at least the Yahoo part of it, is returning to the brick-and-mortar office environment where real people mix and mingle? INSIGHT by Mike Causey continued from page 1
March 11, 2013
March 25, 2013