NAPS: Could Big Civil Service Changes Lie Ahead?

Could Big Civil Service Changes Lie Ahead?
1/13/17 Sweeping changes (here and here) to civil service rules and employee compensation could come about under plans being prepared by President-elect Trump’s transition team and the GOP-controlled Congress. Last November’s anti-Washington mandate has put a bulls-eye on the federal bureaucracy as part of efforts to “drain the swamp” and eliminate “government waste.”
Conservative think tank proposals, based on the questionable assumption that federal pay and benefits are overly generous, could now become the playbook for Congressional action. Unified GOP control of Congress and the White House will make enactment of some changes possible. Proposals blocked in the past by a Democratic President and the Senate could now become law.
Some changes could affect only federal civil servants, while others could reach to postal employees, particularly those involving retirement and health benefits and new postal hires.  Congress will take aim at reducing the defined benefit portion of FERS and move newly-hired federal and postal employees to a defined contribution arrangement, consisting of Social Security and the Thrift Savings Plan.  House chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) has suggested the possibility of a higher TSP government match in return for elimination of the FERS defined benefit component.  Reductions in the government’s contribution toward health insurance premiums (now set at 72%) could also come into play.

Some potential civil service changes could be helpful to civil service and postal managers, like the streamlining of rules to remove poor performers. Legislative proposals currently applicable only to the Veterans Administration personnel actions could be broadened to become governmentwide.
The Holman Rule is Back
One of the first expressions of GOP appetite to attack the jobs and salaries of federal employees who administer controversial enforcement and regulatory programs in the Executive Branch occurred last week. On the very first day of the new Congress, GOP House members adopted a procedural rules package that reinstated the Holman Rule, which will permit House members during floor debate on government funding bills to offer amendments that directly reduce specific jobs and salaries at particular agencies, down to as little as $1 a year.
The Holman Rule has not been used since the 1980’s, when it was set aside over internal Congressional squabbles. But the return of the Holman Rule signals a new aggressiveness by House conservatives to return power to rank-and-file members aiming to decrease federal spending and taxpayer costs to levels lower than those recommended by the established appropriations committees.
As a result, House lawmakers now will have the power to make surgical cuts into agency budgets, identifying particular jobs, and even their incumbents and salaries, to be cut. Fortunately, it appears that the Postal Service is relatively protected from the reach of the Holman Rule because of the relatively small amount of dollars (and in turn jobs) that Congress appropriates to the Postal Service, whose funding comes primarily from postage.
More Trouble Ahead: The PAGE Act
Also during the first week of the new Congress, some members wasted no time in readying measures that would reduce the size of the federal workforce and establish dramatic personnel reforms. Most notably, Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) prepared to reintroduce legislation, the Promote Accountability and Government Efficiency Act (“PAGE Act”, HR 6278 in the last Congress) that would, among other things, turn all new federal workers into “at-will” employees, permitting supervisors to fire them without due process rights or the opportunity to appeal. Such changes would not appear to apply to Postal Service new hires, but would have profound impact upon labor relations throughout the federal workplace. The Rokita bill also would end “official time” practices, which permit civil service union stewards to engage in union activity while receiving a federal salary.
Postal Reform: What’s In Store?
Postal reform legislation failed to cross the finish line in the last Congress, and its prospects for passage in the 115thCongress remain mixed.  As time ran out in December on the lame duck Congress, efforts by House and Senate negotiators to reach a deal on a comprehensive postal bill failed to resolve questions about Medicare integration and other issues. Discussions on the bill are expected to pick-up once again in the new Congress and possibly lead to final action sometime in 2017.
NAPS will keep a close watch on these developments and proposals in the weeks ahead and keep its members advised on its actions. Some measures could provide helpful management tools, while others could be disruptive to the pocketbooks and protections for all federal and postal employees. They will receive special attention during the 2017 NAPS Legislative Training Seminar, March 5-8.  Register today.
Bruce Moyer, NAPS Legislative Counsel

12 thoughts on “NAPS: Could Big Civil Service Changes Lie Ahead?

  1. I noticed that SCR seems to think that President Donald Bankruptcy, oh I mean Trump, I going to allow the new jobs that are going to just appear will pay high wages! His secretary of Labor is against increasing the minimum wage, wants to gut health care so it is more business friendly, brags about not paying taxes, wants to take away union membership from new Federal employees, and give business more rights against workers! If you have ever noticed, in Germany, Unions have seats on the business corporate boards. Mandated by German law. Now do you think business is going to do anything to take away their power? Give the employees descent pay? The American worker will receive much more from the Easter Bunny than your pal.

    • once again honest, straight forward , tell it like it is. People decide outcomes by the way they chose to respect each other. What I like about
      you is that your old enough to understand common sense, and civility.
      No problems are solved until we address the real issues, rather than being side tracked on how we might different.

  2. Postal Mismanagers lost over $105 Billion since 2009, have defaulted on retirement health prepayments since 2009… tell me who are really the “poor performers” in the Postal Circus………worker or mismanagement?
    will Trump continue to let the po mismanagers lose $Billions and $Billions of dollars each year? that is the real question. hope he gets rid of PMG Brennen the IOD Queen!

    • Thank you for asking the common sense question. I guess I was part
      of a losing business when the Dems where in control. It was like the
      union was the crew leader and mismanagement was the lost boss.
      It currently is a game of musical chairs, as the out with the old, and in
      with the low paid that run till they drop new. In the current case those
      with decades only loss.

  3. Maybe just maybe,our nation’s newly elected President Donald J.Trump,will spend the next eight-years(two-terms),turning the U.S.A.,into a skilled high-paying manufacturing powerhouse? This has been quietly achieved in Germany and the Netherlands(Holland),during the past decade or so. The problem is that more conventional Washington,DC.,politicians of both parties,will attempt to do;all they could to stop President Trump. But,he will overcome them.

    • you are brainwashed by the marxist’s! Democrat Sen Diane Feinstein and her husband Richard Blum had a no bid postal contract to sell over 100 postal properties which netted them over 1 billion dollars in profits off of the backs of postal employees, they than leased and in some cases bought new properties netting a 6% commission. in the mid west a lot of postal union employees were dislocated over 500 miles from their base station……..Demorats just looking out for the little people I guess. grow up and throw out the comic books! (notice while this was going on not one word from the company postal unions)

  4. This is typical Republican crap. They hate any middle class job that offers a chance to enjoy a modicum of quality of life, with insurance, benefits, union representation and decent wages. The fact is, these greedy assholes want everything for themselves. They can scream “budget” or “fiscal responsibility” all they want, knowing that the people who usually vote for them will fall for it, but it’s all smoke and mirrors to hide the fact they want an oligarch/capitalist government.
    For those Trump voters, that means ruled by the few ultra rich and powerful who are only interested in getting richer and even more powerful, making this country a two tiered nation of ultra rich and ultra poor. They simply cannot stand the thought of anybody outside their circle having a dime to themselves.
    So now the unions better step up. Are you listening, NALC? My union? I have just retired, and if you allow Washington to get away with reducing my benefits in any way without putting up a real fight, not only myself, but potentially thousands of city carriers out there who are disgusted with your lack of energy you have exhibited and lack of contract news has made us very leery.
    You must dig in with the Democrats and any GOP member who might have an ounce of respect for working Americans and do it now. I know many carriers who have indicated they will not hesitate to drop out of the NALC if you do not start getting more aggressive, and that would include me. I will not pay dues to have my representation be rendered useless.

    • Why lie you haven’t been there and you haven’t done that… Typical liberal rhetoric… Obamanation himself said that to successful business owners… You didn’t build that… You didn’t make that… It’s all part of the extreme leftist mind bending… Open your eyes and look at this economy since the Democrats have had the controls.. Apparently for you the mind bending has worked… What a waste…

    • Hey, been there, done that, just what have the Democrats done for the postal workers the past 8 years, maybe 30 years??? The current Democrat Party has been taken over by crying snowflakes, transvestites and terrorists, and that, my friend, is why the Democrat Party is doomed. Their losses in 2010, 2012, 2014 and especially 2016 are just the start. Read the writing on the wall, will you?

  5. This country will be better off when those “lazy Federal employees are treated like the slaves they should be! What makes them think they should be treated with respect, be paid for their service, and have the right to defend themselves when management tries to terminate their jobs! The Ratpublicans are moving this country back to the 18 TH century. I remember when management tried to discipline me for not scanning a parcel on my day off. So Mr. hate worker Congressman wants to be able to fire workers without any rights to defend themselves? Many people don’t care about what is right or wrong, fair or unfair, only what they can get away with! Just takeaway our labor rights, make health care more business friendly, and make retirement harder to obtain! Well as ling corporations can make more in tax free profits every thing will be great! On the Sif channel their is a program that tells about our Federal Government has fallen, the corporations now run our country. Could that be far behind?

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