The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association and Senior Executives Association have come out swinging against a government reform bill expected to hit the House floor on July 6.
The associations each sent a letter to House members protesting the Government Reform and Improvement Act, HR 4361, which includes a litany of federal employee reform measures.
The bill incorporates the language of seven previous bills ranging from reducing employee access to porn to Senior Executive Service reform. NARFE and SEA officials both said the measure includes initiatives that would also restrict the rights of government workers.
“H.R. 4361 is mislabeled as an improvement when, under the pretext of reform, it denies federal employees’ rights they are currently afforded,” said NARFE president Richard Thissen in the letter.
“The presumptions of wrongdoing underlying the legislation are an affront to federal employees, who serve our country faithfully and many of whom put their lives on the line every day.”
The largest points of contention center on three issues:
- The proposed extensions the probationary period for new federal executives to two years, double the time that NARFE said is needed to evaluate new employees.
- New restrictions that would limit paid leave for SES members accused of wrongdoing to no more than two weeks.
- The requirement that the Office of Personnel Management submits an annual report of employee use of “official time”—the sanctioned time federal employees are allowed to conduct union activities on the job.
Thissen said that OPM already reported on the official time taken by union representatives and called the requirement an inefficient use of taxpayer dollars.
SEA likewise took aim at the paid leave measure, in addition to proposals that would prevent employees removed from the SES retain their original salary if they later take a civil service job.
Acting SEA president Jason Briefel said in the letter that the proposals already face stiff constitutionality challenges, following Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s decision not to defend portions of a 2014 accountability law that she determined violated the due process rights of a fired VA executive.
“While SEA agrees that elements of the SES system are in need of reform, the purposeful inclusion of likely constitutionally deficient provisions contained in Title IV is not the way to get there,” he said. “It also wastes valuable time and resources that could be better spent working towards meaningful reforms.”
HR 4361 cleared the House Oversight Committee in March in a 21-16 vote and was pending a floor vote at the time of publication.