How bad is federal employee morale?

Federal employees protest the sequester outside the Department of Labor on March 20. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg).

It’s well known that federal employee spirits are low, but how low?

Top Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and two of its subcommittees want the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study “trends in federal employee morale” and what can be done to improve it.

In a letter Thursday to the GAO, Reps. Elijah E. Cummings (Md.), the ranking member on the full committee; Stephen Lynch (Mass.) and Gerald E. Connolly (Va.) said low morale “may be compromising the federal government’s ability to serve the American people.”

Citing the recent three-year freeze on basic federal pay rates, unpaid furlough days for some workers and a partial government shutdown, the representatives began their letter with something the workforce well knows:

“The last few years have been challenging for federal employees.”

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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