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  Daily Briefing  

February 26, 1999

Civil service reforms may include buyouts, pay hikes

By Brian Friel

More buyouts, higher pay for senior executives and new evaluation systems for federal managers are among the ideas the Clinton administration is circulating as part of a civil service reform initiative.

In a discussion paper obtained by, the administration lays out dozens of potential changes to the way federal managers and employees are compensated and evaluated. The paper is being used as a starting point for civil service reform discussions among the administration, Congress, unions and professional associations. The administration expects to propose official changes later this year.

The discussion paper includes a recommendation that agencies be granted buyout authority until the end of fiscal 2001, to help them "deal with current and future changes in mission, funding, etc."

Vice President Al Gore has recently touted another of the ideas listed in the discussion paper: Tying federal managers' pay to performance. Senior managers should be evaluated on measures of customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction and business results, Gore says.

Morley Winograd, director of Gore's National Partnership for Reinventing Government, said the proposed system would definitely apply to senior executives. The administration is still determining whether more managers, such as those at the GS-14 and GS-15 levels, should also be subject to the new evaluation system.

Winograd said the administration is gathering ideas from stakeholders and bouncing the administration's ideas off them.

"We're getting people's reactions to our proposals," Winograd said.

Edward Lynch, a staffer on the House Government Reform Subcommittee on the Civil Service, said he is supportive of the concept of better tying pay to performance, but expressed reservations about the administration's proposal to re-establish buyout authority for the executive branch.

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