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Federal Employees News Digest : July 1, 2013
Phil Piemonte, Managing Editor E-mail: email@example.com What's Inside44 JULY 1, 2013 • VOL. 62, NO. 48 Amendment applauded as first step to rein in contractor salaries Those pushing back against the rising pay levels of federal contractors scored a victory last week as Senate lawmakers voted to cap contractor pay at Customs and Border Protection. The Senate on June 19 voted 72-26, to approve legislation that would limit annual compensation for border security contrac- tors to no more than $230,700---the vice president's annual salary. The cap came as an amendment to a major immigration reform bill. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) attached the measure to the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744). "We're pleased to see Congress finally getting serious about reining in excessive pay for the highest-paid federal contrac- tors," Randy Erwin, legislative director for the National Federation of Federal Employees, told FEND. "We'd like to see excessive contractor pay capped in all fed- eral agencies, not just at CBP." National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley called the vote "an important and sensible first step in reining in the outrageous taxpayer-funded salaries of federal contractors." "NTEU believes the cap should be not only lowered substantially, but made gov- ernment-wide for all contractors," Kelley told FEND. In addition to praising the amendment affecting CBP contractors, Kelley and other union leaders also welcomed the introduction June 19 of broad, bipartisan legislation---the Commonsense Contractor Compensation Act (S.1192)---which, if passed, would cap annual taxpayer-subsidized salaries for all federal contractors at $237,500. This broader bill is also co-sponsored in the Senate by Manchin, along with Barbara Boxer (Calif.-D) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). Reps. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) and Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) have sponsored a House version of the bill (H.R. 2444). Manchin noted that a Government Accountability Office report released June 19 found that reducing the current cap of $763,000 to $230,700 would have saved at least $440 million per year for the years 2010-2012 among 27 contractors that pro- vided data to GAO. "Unless Congress acts soon to rein in these limits," a release from Manchin's office noted, "the salary cap for top exec- utives is expected to rise again..." Cap still creeping toward $1 million "The Manchin proposal was adopted as an amendment to pending immigration reform legislation," Kelley told FEND, explaining its restricted scope. "As such, it was limited to contractors performing border securi- ty-related functions at the Department of Homeland Security and the National Guard." Kelley said that NTEU is pleased with the push to restrict contractor pay at CBP---and government-wide---at $230,700. But she also warned that until the bills are passed and signed by the president, contractor pay creep continues. "A new, higher figure---anticipated to be about $950,000---should be announced by Whistling where you work Whistleblowers come in all shapes and sizes. And they are back in the news. Big time. They are motivated by many different things, including their sense of right and wrong, their personal politics, a deep (if sometimes misguided) sense of justice, ego and a desire for more than 15 min- utes of fame. In many cases, we probably never find out what really pushed them over the edge. People differ on the definition of what a whistleblower is. Whistleblowers can be called heroes, villains, trouble- makers, even traitors. It depends often on who they are, and whose beans they are spilling. How we define them prob- ably says a lot about us, and our politics. Who we are. The whistleblower now in the news is Edmund Snowden. He's a contractor (with very high security clearance) who, after only three months on the job, flew to China (No.1 hack attacker and target) to hold a news conference. He said the National Security Agency has been col- lecting information on us, and he thinks that is not right, not legal and not very nice. If you took his story to Hollywood, looking for a film treatment, they would probably pass. This is a 29-year-old high school dropout (but maybe genius) who INSIGHT BY MIKE CAUSEY continued on page 2 For more news...see Federal Daily at www.FederalDaily.com • Feds think efforts not rewarded 3 • Bill would fix pay disparity 4 • In Brief 5 • Informed Investor 7 • Federal Benefits Q&A 8 continued on page 3
June 24, 2013
July 8, 2013