Study: 'Scrap GS pay system'

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The federal government should eliminate the traditional GS pay system in favor of four broad pay bands to address the growing need for information technology workers, a National Academy of Public Administration study recommended.

The federal government should eliminate the traditional GS pay system in favor of four broad pay bands to address the growing need for information technology workers, a National Academy of Public Administration study recommended.

The government should have entry-level positions for GS-5 through GS-7, technical supervisor positions for GS-9 through GS-11, analytical supervisor positions for GS-12 through GS-13 and expert manager positions for GS-14 through GS-15, said study director Costis Toregas earlier this month at the Interagency Resources Management Conference in Hershey, Pa.

NAPA undertook the one-year study, Comparative Study of Information Technology Pay Systems, for the federal Chief Information Officers Council and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

NAPA fellows who worked on the study included industry and former federal employees. They reviewed the IT pay systems of 29 state governments, six county and city governments, and international and private-sector organizations.

The study said the government suffers from an onerous recruiting process, inadequate motivational tools, lack of investment in training and an outdated classification system, said Toregas, president of Public Technology Inc. of Washington.

'If the federal government is to harness the full power of information technology, it must have a well-skilled work force,' he said. 'The current human resources management system will not do it.'

Merit raises

There should be a market-based, performance compensation system consistent with the Clinger-Cohen Act, Toregas said.

The system should link increased pay to competencies and results, he said, and eliminate across-the-board pay raises.

'Also, those who are technically competitive should be allowed to rise and rise in the technical areas and not necessarily in the managerial areas,' Toregas said.

Other recommendations included improving the recruitment and hiring process, considering factors beyond pay, differentiating pay to reflect the value of specialties within the IT area and raising the cap on pay for IT executives to the level of pay of the vice president.

'There will be an initial increase for salaries and in continuous learning investment, but there will be returns on learning and growth over a 10-year period,' he said.

NEXT STORY: Officials debate talent shortage

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