Washington, D.C. – Today U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI) introduced the Senior Executive Service Reform Act of 2012, a bill to strengthen the Federal Government’s senior leadership corps.

“Our government executives play a critical part in promoting efficient federal government,” Senator Akaka said.  “Each year, the Presidential Rank Awards recognize senior executives who save American taxpayers billions of dollars through innovative ideas and management expertise.  My bill would invest in our senior leaders, giving them the tools and incentives they need to be effective.”

Established by the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, the Senior Executive Service (SES) is responsible for driving management, efficiency, and other policy initiatives within agencies and across the federal government.  The majority of the SES are career civil servants hired based on their ability to meet strict qualifications that demonstrate leadership and other skills.  SES pay currently is linked to Congressional pay, which has not kept pace with General Schedule (GS) pay, resulting in pay compression and some SES are paid less than employees they supervise.

In 2011, in his capacity as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia, Senator Akaka held a hearing to assess the condition of the SES workforce and identify areas in potential need of reform.  Witnesses testified about shortcomings in Senior Executive Service candidate development, diversity, and training.  Testimony also focused on disincentives for applying to the SES, including increased workload and responsibilities compared to GS positions with little additional compensation and fewer workers’ rights.

The bill would address many of the challenges discussed during the 2011 hearing.  Among other provisions, the bill would: