May 20, 2013
A report issued by a Senate subcommittee on Friday, May 17, 2011, shows that members of the Senior Executive Service were paid more than $340 million in bonuses from 2008 through 2011, in addition to their regular annual salaries that range from $119,000 to $179,000. In 2012 the average annual salary was $166,025.
According to the Senior Executive Service Reform Act of 1978, the Senior Executive Service is a position classification in the civil service which consists of leaders who serve in key positions just below top presidential appointees. SES members are the link between the Presidential appointees and the rest of the Federal work force. They operate and oversee government activity in approximately 75 Federal agencies. There are currently more than 7,000 members.
On March 1, 2013, sequestration took effect and the Federal government was forced to take $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts. These cuts affect every government department and service across the nation. In most cases, the only way to cut the budget in each department (without cutting the pay of the elite, of course) is to furlough employees, which means forced time off without pay.
Some workers are looking at a minimum of 21 to 28 furlough days by the end of 2013. Could you afford to go a month without a paycheck?
However, by law, all agencies must still pay bonuses to Senior Executive Service employees who meet certain performance criteria.
Truth Out reports, “Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, introduced a bill Friday that would eliminate bonuses for members of the Senior Executive Service during sequestration. McCaskill leads the Senate Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight, which produced the report.”
“The idea that some of the highest-paid federal government employees could be getting bonuses while others are being furloughed is outrageous,’ McCaskill said in a statement. ‘This legislation will ensure that doesn’t happen.’”
Fridays subcommittee report found that more than 6,300 SES members received cash awards in 2011, totaling $78 million. Among the agencies spending the most bonus money were the Nuclear Regulatory Commission,at $16,000 per employee, the National Science Foundation, at $14,000, the Department of the Navy, at $13,000 the Department of Health and Human Services at $13,000 and the Department of Commerce at more than $12,000 per employee.