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Report gives 'pay retention' issue a careful look

"Such action," it said, "could complicate GS operations and policies by requiring job reclassifications and new regulations."

The research service mentioned one policy option that would not require legislation. It would provide employees a performance-based bonus to make up for money not received because of the cap on their annual pay raise.

That means slackers would be left out. But even good workers would have a problem with this, because the performance award would not count when determining annuities. In the federal managers' view, this would only be "better than nothing."

The Pentagon's position is that it will do what it's told.

Diversity at Interior

After complaints by Blacks In Government regarding discrimination in the Interior Department, the agency has responded with moves designed to increase diversity.

Among other initiatives, performance evaluations and awards for senior executives will be linked to progress on diversity and monthly diversity reports will be required.

The department plans to implement its new diversity program soon. "For the past few months, we have been working to develop a diversity agenda that not only encourages diversity, but also utilizes it as a resource for promoting success in the workforce," said Rhea Suh, the assistant secretary for policy, management and budget.

Kim Lambert, president of the organization's chapter at Interior, said this is a start. "Now we have to see if Interior can dramatically change direction," she said. "Our latest numbers show increasing discrimination at Interior over the past year."

SAVE Award

Federal workers have until Thursday to compete in the second annual SAVE Award, the Obama administration's effort to solicit rank-and-file suggestions on how the government can improve operations and trim its bottom line.

Workers can visit to submit their ideas and vote on the best submissions. The public will have a chance to vote later this fall, and the winner gets a meeting with President Obama. The winning idea also will be included in Obama's fiscal 2012 budget requests.

Staff writer Ed O'Keefe contributed to this report.

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