Regarding “At GSA, almost everyone rates a bonus,” June 4 issue:
I was concerned about Federal Times’ objectivity. I don’t have to question Rep. Jeff Denham’s objectivity because he is a Republican and Republicans’ theme is to beat up everything they can in the current administration. Federal Times appears to have jumped on the same bandwagon.
Read the commentary in your May 14 edition, “What’s Missing in Latest Effort to Improve Employee Performance.” In it, Howard Risher said, “A former Marriott executive commented that if someone wanted to bankrupt a company that serves the public, they would do exactly what’s happening to the federal workforce. Freezing compensation, cutting staff and restricting hiring undermine employee commitment to a job and to an employer.”
The federal civilian workforce has had all pay increases suspended for two years. Military members did not have their pay suspended, yet they work for the same government. Republicans are trying to freeze our compensation package or reduce it, and the country is in the middle of a depression, which I believe is directly attributable to the Republican former president’s decision to fight two wars simultaneously.
The only tool left to incentivize the federal workforce is bonuses, and federal managers want to ensure that hardworking federal employees get some sort of recognition for doing a good job under difficult conditions. And that is now being questioned in your article and by the Republicans.
I’m in contracting and I understand the benefits of austerity. We are always looking for ways to save the taxpayers’ money. The federal government does a lot of work for the public, which is rarely seen by the public and definitely misunderstood by many politicians. It isn’t tiny elves doing all the work, it is the federal workforce. The General Services Administration performs a lot of necessary and important functions. Sure, it had a scandal regarding an overpriced conference in Las Vegas, but I’m sure very few of GSA’s rank and file attended that conference.
Federal managers need some tools to keep workers inspired and motivated. The most important work performed by the government isn’t done by managers, it is done by the workers who keep the government running.
Most federal employees I know come to work to do a good job because they want to do a good job. So they deserve bonuses — not to mention cost-of-living increases.
— Jeff Cross, Coast Guard, Oakland, Calif.