The original PBC Pay Mechanism MOA (August 22, 2013) provides the GAO Employees Organization summary ratings information for each mission team/unit. We are providing this information for the 2015 ratings cycle in a slide presentation.
There are several things to keep in mind as you review this information. For example:
- PDP and other employees in developmental plans are not included in the slide presentation because PDP compensation is determined under a different system. In addition, employees who were not eligible for an appraisal for any reason during the 2015 regular appraisal cycle are not included.
- There are some groups of employees with such small numbers that they are not displayed in the presentation. For example, in some teams, there are very few Band I analysts or specialists; therefore, it would be possible to identify individuals if we published information for these smaller sub-groups of colleagues.
- It was not possible to break out information by band level and unit for most of the Administrative Professional and Support Staff (APSS) employees because the number of APSS employees is often quite small within a team or unit, particularly by band level. Therefore, Administrative pay plan staff are presented in 2 broad categories—Mission team and non-Mission team. A few larger units of Program and Technical pay plan staff are presented individually, and the rest are grouped together.
- Those who received any “Marginal” or “Unacceptable” ratings are grouped together in the slide presentation, with the goal of providing as much information as possible while protecting confidentiality.
- The slide presentation contains the number and percentage of employees in each PBC payout category by band level within each team or unit, except in those cases mentioned above.
The following are reminders of the general definitions for the PBC categories under the current PBC mechanism:
- Top Performer Increase/TPI. Eligibility for this category is either an “Exceptional” checkmark for every job competency or one “Sustained” checkmark and Exceptional checkmarks in the other competencies.
- Standard Adjustment Factor/SAF. Eligibility for this category is Sustained checkmarks in more than one job competency no more than one Marginal checkmark, and no Unacceptable checkmarks. For example, 2 Sustained and 2 Exceptional checkmarks under a 4 competency model or 2 Sustained checkmarks and 1 Exceptional under a 3 competency model would result in eligibility for the SAF.
We hope this information will provide additional context for your 2015 ratings. Please email us at email@example.com if you have comments and/or questions about the information we provided.
When Will I Get PBC?
The timing of when we receive PBC, the performance based compensation employees receive based on their annual appraisal, is a source of frustration for everyone. PBC negotiations for 2016 are ongoing and GAO management and the GAO Employees Organization are not close to reaching agreement. We will update you on the progress, but it will likely take a while before agreement is reached. GAO management and the GAO Employees Organization are contacting a mediator to assist in the process. Whenever we reach agreement, the PBC will be processed effective to the first pay period of 2016. (Employees who are in a developmental plan, like PDP, receive PBC under a different system.)
There are a number of things that contribute to the time it takes to see PBC in your paycheck:
1) Negotiations for PBC take place after GAO receives an appropriation and budget priorities are established. GAO management uses an estimate of the cost of salaries and benefits when submitting the budget request. The GAO Employees Organization believes that by doing so, GAO establishes priorities for allocating the budget in this process. Then, after these priorities are established with the Congress, the negotiations over the amount of PBC begin. In a perfect world, GAO’s estimate of what it will spend to reward employee performance would be consistent with what employees see as appropriate. Typically, it takes a while for the negotiations to get the budget factor percentage into a range that we believe would be appropriate for an annual performance raise. In the past two years under this PBC pay mechanism, the negotiated PBC budget factor percentage was 2.2% plus cash (2015) and 2.1% (2014). The negotiations in both years took some time and resulted in an amount that balanced an appropriate reward for employee performance with a challenging budget environment.
2) GAO establishes priorities with the Congress in the process of seeking an appropriation. Sometimes there are competing priorities. The CG’s testimony seeking the FY 2016 appropriation (February 2015 House, and March 2015 Senate) identifies GAO’s stated priorities (see pages 15 – 18, in particular), including increasing the overall number of FTEs at GAO. GAO’s final appropriation for FY 2016 was $531 million, an increase of $9 million. Expanding the overall number of FTEs and appropriately rewarding colleagues already at GAO for their performance could be competing priorities.
3) It takes multiple pay periods for GAO to process the pay increase through the National Finance Center (NFC) once an agreement is reached. For example, it took 3 pay periods for this year’s annual adjustment to arrive in your pay checks (this week, for most. Some colleagues are still waiting, unfortunately). This compounds the sense of delay, since it’s an additional 6 + weeks after all the negotiations are completed before you see any money.
The GAO Employees Organization shares employees’ frustration with these delays. The timing of the PBC negotiations is one of the topics that we put on the table in the recently negotiated 2016 MOA related to the MultiYear Compensation MOA and the 2016 Annual Adjustment. In addition to keeping you posted on the status of this year’s PBC negotiation, we wanted to provide information about the inherent hurdles in the overall process. Since the annual GAO Employee Feedback Survey is about to be implemented, we invite you to share your thoughts about the PBC process and compensation directly with the CG. We also appreciate hearing your questions and concerns.
Mission Teams Moving at Headquarters?
Employees have heard from managers that ARM staff on the 6th floor will be relocating to the 2nd floor, and we have received a number of questions on this topic. GAO officials have told us that they have been conducting a space analysis study of the HQ building. The study’s objective is to consolidate HQ to use space more efficiently and to increase revenues by adding additional tenants. GAO management recently briefed us on a general concept for consolidating HQ based on the analysis that will need to include much more detail before implementation. For example, some components of the consolidation plan would include
- renovating/converting certain closets and storage rooms and other open space into useable workspaces (either to meeting rooms or to offices)
- moving mission team/unit staff to minimize empty workspaces within team floorplan boundaries
- refreshing and renovating some space along the way (cleaning, painting, perhaps minimal construction)
Once unused space is consolidated in this manner, the Agency has stated that it could move a couple of mission teams to other floors. The goals of these moves would be to 1) locate all mission teams in contiguous space on the same floor, and 2) free up a sizeable amount of space on the 6th floor for a new tenant.
Based on our experience with renovations and relocations in the field offices, these are complex processes with a multitude of details to sort out in order to assure that the transition is smooth and not overly disruptive for employees. In addition, it may seem obvious that an effort to consolidate space at HQ does not make sense without also considering an Expanded Telework program. In the view of the GAO Employees Organization, the plan to use space more efficiently is substantively linked to the HQ expanded telework initiative, as it has been in the field offices (almost all of which now occupy a smaller footprint in conjunction with more staff teleworking regularly).
There is no set timeframe for space consolidation at HQ and there are no moves or relocations scheduled at this time. All of these concepts are considerations in the telework negotiations and we will keep you updated. Please feel free to share your questions or concerns with us and directly with the CG in the GAO Employee Feedback Survey.