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Federal Managers Association

Press Release

  • Alexandria, VA - Given new legislation which would extend the federal employee pay freeze for an additional three years, as well as related ongoing talks in Congress, Federal Managers Association (FMA) National President Patricia Niehaus released the following statement. "In late 2010, President Obama issued a call for a two-year freeze on federal employee pay as a means of 'shared sacrifice' to get our country on the path towards fiscal sustainability. Congress followed suit and feds are about to enter the second year of the freeze. This sacrifice will ultimately save the taxpayers $60 billion, despite the fact that several decades' worth of nonpartisan research shows federal employees' pay lags behind that of their private sector counterparts to the tune of over twenty percent. "At the time, we at the Federal Managers Association understood that these were trying times for Americans, and that the President and Congress were confronting a mounting deficit and ongoing economic challenges requiring a sacrifice from all Americans. It bears repeating, however, that our unprecedented deficit was not borne out of rising and exorbitant federal employee salaries, and federal employees should not face an unfair burden simply because they carry out the work of this country. "I am appalled that while some Members of Congress are calling for a two percent payroll tax break in order to stimulate the economy and lend a hand to struggling middle class Americans, others aim to achieve this on the backs of two million fellow middle class Americans who are confronting the same financial challenges. Federal employees, most of whom receive a modest paycheck to begin with, are confronting rising health care costs, have children who moved home after college, and are responsible for supporting their families on a single paycheck due to the loss of a spouse's job. To assume federal employees are immune to our country's economic afflictions is misguided, misinformed and simply false. "Not only does this recommendation disregard future economic conditions that warrant examination of annual federal pay adjustments, it also serves as a major deterrent to potential hires with critical expertise. A pay freeze sends the wrong message to employees who will fill critical ranks vacated through retirement and we will inevitably face a government-wide brain drain leaving agencies unable to achieve their missions and objectives at a time when Americans are relying on government more than ever. "Ultimately, any savings projected by a federal pay freeze would likely never be realized. Federal employees are expected to start retiring in droves in the coming years, and extending the federal pay freeze could trigger a personnel crisis in many federal agencies as employees choose to retire sooner. As a result, agencies will be forced to incur significant recruitment and contractor costs that will offset any projected savings. The negative impacts of a pay freeze will be felt throughout government, with little impact on the budget deficit. "Applying another multi-year blanket freeze on federal pay effectively constitutes a reduction in take home pay, which exacerbates the financial strain already shouldered by these public servants and does nothing to stimulate our economy. Federal employees should not have to, yet again, play a disproportionate role in deficit reduction simply because Congress has failed to rein in spending over the last decade. Taking steps to reverse our government's spending and aid our economic recovery should not be unduly borne by our nation's civil servants. We strongly urge lawmakers to avoid this shortsighted approach to economic stimulus."


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The Association’s considerable influence stems from a team approach to advocacy. When lawmakers or agency decision-makers consider proposals that could adversely affect the management of the federal workforce, they quickly realize that TEAM FMA stands together to protect the interests of all its members.

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