Federal Employees News Digest

Does the fed future include FERS?

A congressional task force charged with improving government efficiency is proposing to eliminate the “simultaneously immoderate and unstable” Federal Employees' Retirement System and to make improvements to the federal government workforce.

“The Task Force commends those federal workers that approach each day as an opportunity to serve the American people but are guided by the age-old truth that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, ”the report –100+ Commonsense Solutions to a Better Government – by the Government, Efficiency, Accountability and Reform Task Force states. “With this in mind, the Task Force seeks to advance reforms that ensure that the federal government has the strongest links possible for the sake of ensuring the American people are served by an efficient and accountable government.”

The group’s recommendations includes more than 100 “common sense” solutions to address inefficiency and waste and reemphasize and reward innovation in the federal workforce.

One focus is to reign costs of the largest benefit-based expenses of the federal government, the federal pension system, which the report describes as immoderate, unstable and a burden.

“The authors of the report strongly disagree with the current retirement structure,” the report states, adding that instead, FERS should be enhanced to a Thrift Savings Plan-only system.

Federal employees currently also receive the 401k-style TSP retirement benefit, but it makes up a much smaller portion piece of the retirement package.

“The GEAR Task Force supports a phase-out of the FERS system for future federal hires, eventually offering an enhanced TSP-only system in its place,” the authors write. “This would raise the base federal TSP contribution as well as the cap on federal matches.”

The report also urged merit-based compensation similar to that of the private sector employment industry, and a more streamline hiring process.

Another effort is to limit the retirement compensation awarded to a federal employee removed for committing a felony in abuse of their official duties.

Bureaucracy often “laughably def[ies] common sense,” and the task force’s goal is to reevaluate status quo.

View the full report with its recommendations to improvement to the federal workforce here.

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Contributors

Edward A. Zurndorfer Certified Financial Planner
Mike Causey Columnist
Tom Fox VP for Leadership and Innovation, Partnership for Public Service
Mathew B. Tully Legal Analyst

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