Information for 'Feds'
August 3, 2019
Whether you are a current or retired Federal Employee, there are a few recent developments that you should be aware of.
Good news! Just recently, the House of Representatives passed a spending bill that would provide federal employees with a 3.1 percent average pay raise for 2020, matching private-sector increases and achieving parity with the military pay increase. The raise – a 2.6 percent increase across the board and a 0.5 percent average increase to locality pay rates – would be the largest in a decade. This House bill would override the Administration’s budget recommendation of a pay freeze for 2020. How this will fare in the Senate remains to be seen. The Senate will consider its version, but so far has not acted on any spending legislation.
This bill would also block a proposed merger of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the General Service Administration (GSA). OPM provides services to Federal employees including recruiting, security clearances, retirement benefits, health and life insurance. The transfer of security functions to the Dept. of Defense is already planned for Oct. 1. Under the Administration’s plan, most other functions would move to GSA, the government’s procurement organization.
How might this affect federal employees? On the surface it sounds like a good idea. After all, OPM is an understaffed, inefficient bureaucracy with a woefully outdated computer system. But there is a downside: moving OPM’s primary functions to a separate agency puts these employee functions at risk of not receiving dedicated resources and attention. In addition, the proposal also seeks to transfer OPM’s personnel policy functions to the Executive Office of the President subjecting employee policy decisions to political influence. The National Active and Retired Employees Association, or NARFE, is opposed to the merger as not being the answer to OPM’s problems. Lawmakers from both parties have noted significant concerns with the reorganization proposal. The administration has been asked to justify the proposed merger but has so far been reluctant to provide documented justification. The House also added a provision to the bill that would prevent the administration from carrying out its threat to lay off 150 OPM employees if its reorganization plan is not approved.
These are just two of a number of significant legislative proposals that impact the benefits of federal employees and retirees. The Tehachapi chapter of NARFE keeps up to date on all these issues. As the local NARFE representative, the chapter can also assist federal retirees and spouses with any problems they may encounter in securing the health or retirement benefits they are entitled to.
Our chapter meets on the third Saturday of every month at 8 a.m. at the Village Grill restaurant, 410 East Tehachapi Blvd. Join us for breakfast! Or call Steve Smith (661) 305-6217 to learn more about our chapter.