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FMA Washington Report: February 8, 2021
This report provides an update on issues affecting federal managers. As always, I encourage you to visit www.fedmanagers.org
on a regular basis for more information on these and other matters.
Also, be sure to look for the FMA Grassroots Update, where we offer links to action letters and FMA-PAC matters we do not address in the Washington Report. The grassroots newsletter is sent exclusively to non-governmental email addresses to avoid any Hatch Act violations. If you are not receiving it, contact the national office to provide your non-governmental email address.
Please feel free to provide feedback any time by emailing Greg Stanford at firstname.lastname@example.org
, or by calling the National Office at (703) 683-8700. Thank you for your membership in FMA. It’s an honor to represent your interests before Congress and the administration.
Legislation Seeks a 3.2 Percent Raise for Feds in 2022
On January 21, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Chair of the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations, introduced the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act of 2021 (H.R. 392). If enacted, the bill would provide a 3.2 percent pay raise to federal employees in 2022. FMA endorsed the bill.
In a press release upon introduction, Connolly wrote, “Our federal workforce serves with dedication and distinction every day. They deserve better. The FAIR Act is critical step towards recognizing their contributions and providing fair and just compensation." FMA strongly agrees, and has endorsed previous iterations of the FAIR Act, as introduced in both the 115th and 116th Congresses.
A Bevy of Federal Workforce Bills Introduced Early in 117th Congress
The 117th Congress was sworn in on January 3, 2021. Legislators have introduced several FMA-supported bills that would benefit federal managers in the first month of this session of Congress. Among them are:
• The Social Security Fairness Act (H.R. 82) – Introduced by Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), this bill would fully repeal the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). This is a long-standing FMA issue brief.
• The Equal COLA Act (H.R. 304) – Introduced by Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), the Equal COLA Act would guarantee federal retirees in the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) receive the same cost of living adjustment (COLA) as feds in the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). H.R. 304 ties both retirement system COLA increases to the CPI-W. This is another FMA issue brief.
FMA and Federal-Postal Coalition Letter on FFCRA
Last week, FMA joined 18 colleagues of the Federal-Postal Coalition on a letter to Congress to highlight the immediate need to renew the leave provisions provided by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and expand them to all federal workers. The letter, sent on February 3, was sent to all members of the 117th Congress.
The 19 organizations who signed the letter urged Congress to immediately and retroactively renew FFCRA in order to build upon its success. Specific requests, in addition to renewing the program retroactively, are to: extend critical benefits of sick and family leave to all federal workers; provide parity to all federal workers; and, provide adequate funding to the Postal Service to support FFCRA leave.
GMC Sends Letter to Help Restore MSPB
On January 25, FMA, along with the four other members of the Government Managers Coalition (GMC), sent a letter to urge President Biden to act with all expediency possible to restore a quorum to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).
The MSPB is the primary forum available to federal employees to enforce their workplace rights. Regrettably, MSPB has been hamstrung and crippled in recent years, lacking a quorum for four years – since January 2017 – and lacking any Senate-confirmed member for nearly two years – since March 2019. In that time, more than 3,000 federal workers have been deprived of an opportunity for justice and an adjudicative hearing before the body, leaving both them and their former agencies in limbo. FMA has been vocal on this issue for years, including it as an issue brief.
Biden Issues Federal Workforce Executive Orders
On January 22, President Biden issued an Executive Order to nullify the creation of Schedule F in the Excepted Service (EO 139957). FMA strongly supported this effort, as we stood steadfast in opposition to the creation of Schedule F in October 2020.
The new EO states that Schedule F, “not only was unnecessary to the conditions of good administration, but also undermined the foundations of the civil service and its merit system principles, which were essential to the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883’s repudiation of the spoils system.” Click here
to read Biden’s full EO.
FMA addressed Biden’s action regarding Schedule F in our most recent “Hear It from FMA” column published in FEDManager.com on Tuesday, February 2. We wrote, “We are extremely pleased that our efforts have paid off, and the Biden administration acted swiftly to end this harmful policy. The only way career civil servants can effectively carry out their critical missions is by remaining free of political concerns. The value of having a competence-based civil service devoted only to doing their jobs, ensures that said jobs will be done far more effectively than if they had been forced to conform their statements to transient political concerns or face firing.” Click here
to read FMA’s full column.
DuBester Named Chairman of the FLRA
On January 21, President Biden nominated Ernest DuBester as Chairman of the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA). Already a member of the FLRA, his selection as chairman is effective immediately, without Senate confirmation.
DuBester was originally appointed and later renominated to the FLRA by President Barack Obama. He was again nominated by President Donald Trump. He has previously served as chairman during portions of both the Obama and Trump administrations.
Get Involved At These Events!
Reminder: FMA Issue Briefs Discussion Social Hour on Zoom – February 11
As we gear up for FMA's 83rd annual National Convention, we are seeking your feedback on FMA's legislative agenda. Click here to access the full draft of the 2021 Issue Briefs.
Please let me know of your specific recommended modifications to the legislative proposals and initiatives as drafted. We welcome comments and recommended language between now and Friday, February 19, 2021. The Issue Briefs are a work in progress and should not be shared outside of the FMA membership.
Additionally, we will conduct an open discussion on the 2021 Issue Briefs via a social hour on Zoom. The discussion will be held on Thursday, February 11, at 8:00 PM Eastern. We look forward to your participation. To access the call, please use the following dial-in instructions:
Topic: FMA Issue Brief Social Hour
Time: Feb 11, 2021 8:00 PM Eastern Time
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 956 3628 4868
83rd National Convention Coming Next Month!
Coming March 7 & 8 via Zoom . . .
Due to the ongoing pandemic, we will conduct the 2021 National Convention virtually to allow as many FMA members to participate as possible. Please visit https://fedmanagers.org/National-Convention-2021
for the latest agenda and more information.
Officer and Government Affairs reports will be live, as will be the Awards Presentations. There will be networking time to let you see old friends and make new ones. On Sunday, March 7, we plan to meet 4 – 7 pm Eastern Time. On Monday, March 8, we will meet 6 – 9 pm Eastern Time.
FMA Working For You!
FMA Telework Social Hour
On January 19, more than 40 FMA members joined an FMA Social Hour on Zoom for a lively discussion about their experiences with telework, including best practices in maximizing technology and managing employees. The discussion helped inform a new FMA telework issue brief, calling for a maximum telework posture for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic and reviewing policies for the future.