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The History of FMA

The Federal Managers Association is the oldest and largest management organization representing the interests of the nearly 200,000 managers, supervisors and executives in the Federal government, and is widely regarded as the most prestigious. It began in 1913 as the Quartermen-Leadingmen Association, with charter chapters in seven naval shipyards. The original goal was to counter the developing strength of trade unions in government.

With the sharp cutback of Federal workers following World War I, the Association went into a brief decline. It was revived in the 1950s as the National Association of Supervisors. In 1978, the name was changed to the Federal Managers Association to reflect the group’s growth in Federal agencies beyond military establishments, and today about half of FMA’s chapters are in non-Department of Defense agencies.

FMA’s current membership includes all levels of supervisory personnel, from wage grade supervisors and General Schedule managers to members of the Senior Executive Service. On their behalf, FMA has exerted influence in the development of Civil Service personnel policies, especially during the past 20 years.  FMA is credited with winning establishment of the five-step pay system in the wage grade pay program. Also, it is credited with winning establishment of the pay relationship between grades, notably between supervisors and subordinates.

FMA has safeguarded managers and supervisors’ interests in the Federal Employees Retirement System. It successfully defeated a new grading procedure for supervisors and managers developed by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that was woefully inadequate. It has persuaded the Advisory Committee on Federal Pay to call for a higher raise for managers and supervisors than the normal rank and file raise. FMA was instrumental in obtaining Hatch Act reform, liberalizing the ability for Federal workers to participate in the political process and in developing the Whistleblower Protection Act, which redesigned the Office of Special Counsel.

As the acknowledged representative for Federal managers and supervisors, FMA is consulted on personnel issues by agency top management, OPM and the Congress.  Similarly, local chapters of FMA are respected and consulted by executive leadership of government agencies and facilities.

FMA marked a milestone with the establishment in 1972 of a full time National Office in Washington, D.C., staffed by professionals. In 1992, FMA bought its own building and moved the National headquarters to Alexandria, Virginia, located conveniently close to Capitol Hill.  

FMA’s leadership role within management was acknowledged by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in 1986 when it certified to the Thrift Investment Board, that FMA was the professional organization which represented managers as defined under the Federal Employee Retirement Act. This certification gave FMA a statutory seat on the Employee Thrift Advisory Council – one of only two non-postal management organizations represented. In 1995, President Clinton appointed FMA to represent managers and supervisors on the National Partnership Council. FMA members also sit on agency and facility-level partnership councils. In 2009, President Obama appointed FMA to the National Council on Labor-Management Relations, the successor to the National Partnership Council. 

The year 2013 marked another significant milestone as the Federal Managers Association celebrated its 100 year anniversary! Members participated in a centennial celebration in March during the 75th Annual National Convention and Management Training Seminar, which included a 100th Anniversary Gala at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., March 3-6, 2013.

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