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Letters to the Editor

Sep. 30, 2012 - 03:21PM   |  
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Fix STOCK Act

The irony of Rep. James Moran’s commentary discussing the unfairness of the STOCK Act to Senior Executive Service employees [“Making financial info public unfairly punishes senior executives,” Sept. 17 issue] is essentially an indictment of Congress itself.

The House voted 417-2 to approve the act, and neither of the two dissenters was Moran. His excuse for this screw-up is that “a provision [was] quietly inserted into the bill’s final version.”

As a consequence, we have another piece of legislation enacted by Congress that was never fully read or, according to Moran, understood.

Yet, had an SES employee made a similar mistake, these 417 Congress members would have been demanding the firing of the employee.

So, Mr. Moran, rather than offering sophomoric excuses, man up and fix the mistake. It would take less time to correct the act than for you to write a Federal Times article.

Here’s an idea: Why don’t you “quietly insert” a correcting provision into another bill? It can’t cause a problem, as nobody reads legislation.

— Daniel G. Shillito, Senior Executive Service, Sacramento, Calif.

Too many bonuses

Employee bonuses have a deleterious effect on the overall management of federal employees.

As a retired Navy officer, I was astonished that bonuses were even given out for, dare I say, doing one’s job. I have found that the concept of bonuses often morphs into an expectation as part of an overall compensation package. I have seen and heard the wailing and gnashing of teeth when the bonus pool is reduced.

Much like cost-plus contracts, employee managers, like program managers, fail to link the bonus to superlative outcomes or performance, resulting in diluting the great with the work of the good and the mediocre.

Perhaps bonuses should be given out April 16, just after Tax Day, not at the end of a calendar year; at least the person receiving the award can link it to the taxes he just paid.

As for the effect on personal commitment, make the bonus 50 percent to 75 percent of one’s overall compensation. Then, there is a personal stake in the game and it will be linked to organizational return on investment. Now that is what I call commitment.

— James N. Phillips Jr., Grass Lake, Mich.

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