Federal senior execs call for revised awards program

The Senior Executive Association (SEA) is calling on the Obama administration to provide an alternative means of honoring top-ranking civil servants after last year’s suspension of the Presidential Rank Awards, which carried a monetary prize.

(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)
(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News)

The monetary prizes were substantial, equaling 20 percent to 35 percent of the salary of federal government senior executives, whose pay ranges from about $120,000 to approximately $180,000 annually.

In lieu of money, the association suggested that the administration host a meeting and photo opportunity with the president for the awardees, provide them with a certificate or letter signed by the president, and publicize their names.

SEA President Carol Bonosaro said she is disappointed that the administration has not announced an alternative plan to honor senior executives, despite indicating in June that it would do so.

“The Presidential Rank Awards have been given annually to Senior Executives (and, more recently, to Senior Professionals) since the inception of the Senior Executive Service in 1979,” she said in a statement that SEA plans to issue this week. “They recognize extraordinary achievement and substantial savings, estimated at $95 billion for the 2012 awardees alone. The Administration is missing a superb opportunity to let the American public know the good government — and career civil servants — have accomplished.”

In response, Frank Benenati, a spokesman for the Office of Management and Budget, said that “the Administration is committed to recognizing excellence in the Senior Executive Service through the Presidential Rank Awards, and we continue to work to identify non-monetary recognition for those executives recommended for a FY 2013 Presidential Rank Award.”

federaldiary@washpost.com

Twitter: @JoeDavidsonWP

Joe Davidson writes the Federal Diary, a column about federal government and workplace issues that celebrated its 80th birthday in November 2012. Davidson previously was an assistant city editor at The Washington Post and a Washington and foreign correspondent with The Wall Street Journal, where he covered federal agencies and political campaigns.

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