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SALARIES OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES
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THURSDAY, MAY 23, 1957
UNITED STATES SENATE, SUBCOMMITTEE ON FEDERAL EMPLOYEES COMPENSATION, COMMITTEE ON Post OFFICE AND CIVIL SERVICE,
Washington, Þ. C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to adjournment, at 10:05 a. m., Hon. Ralph Yarborough presiding.
Present: Senators Yarborough and Clark.
Also present: J. Don Kerlin, staff member, and Frank A. Paschal, staff member.
Senator YARBOROUGH. The subcommittee will come to order.
I wish to make the following announcement on request of the chairman of the subcommittee.
The Chair wishes to invite again the cooperation of all of the witnesses to the end that these hearings may be conducted on schedule as nearly as possible. Witnesses are invited to summarize orally their statements with the understanding that the full text of the prepared statement will appear in the official record of the hearings and, ladies and gentlemen, the purpose of that oral summary is to shorten, not: lengthen, the statement as I heard, not before this committee, but before one committee last week.
I am sure everyone appreciates that any unnecessary delay in the hearings merely serves to hold up action on the legislation you are seeking
As announced yesterday the Chair is hopeful that the hearings can be concluded on Monday next. In order to do this it will be necessary to hear a large number of witnesses both today and again on Monday. The cooperation of all concerned will make this possible.
I wish to announce at this time that the Honorable James A. Davis, United States Representative from Georgia, who was to have been with us today and is listed as the first witness, will be unable to be, here because of official business but we expect to be honored today to have with us Senator Arthur Watkins, of Utah, and when Senator Watkins appears we would appreciate your cooperation, whichever: witness is testifying, if he would at that time permit Senator Watkins to make his statement, then you may complete your statement, a little later.
We appreciate your courtesy in coming here and the fine order that has been kept in all of these meetings despite the very crowded hearing room.
We will proceed with the first witness present. Mr. Vaux Owen, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees.
STATEMENT OF VAUX OWEN, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL FEDERA
TION OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES; ACCOMPANIED BY HENRY G. NOLDA, SECRETARY-TREASURER, NATIONAL FEDERATION OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES, ON S. 734
Mr. OWEN. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I am Vaux Owen, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees. I am accompanied by Mr. Henry G. Nolda, secretary-treasurer, who is here with me.
We are here in support of S. 734, which provides for long overdue and important revisions in the Classification Act of 1949, as amended, and an essential pay increase for classified Federal employees.
S. 734 includes scientific and professional employees who are covered by S. 1326, as well as other groups covered by the Classification Act of 1949, as amended. The National Federation of Federal Employees feels that all groups now subject to the Classification Act of 1949, as amended, should be covered by any legislation enacted and that the legislation should be in the form of an amendment to the present Classification Act.
The structure of the Classification Act of 1949 can be pictured as a long, one-story building divided by partitions into 18 different areas numbered from 1 to 18 and representing the 18 grades provided for in the act. S. 734 would remove 4 partitions and leave 14 areas representing 14 grades, instead of 18 grades. Chart A compares the ap
partitions are removed by S. 734. The main structure remains the same. S. 734 amends only title VI of the Classification Act of 1949, as amended. Other provisions of the act remain intact. This means that the principles and policies set up in the act for classifying positions and grouping them into grades remain in full force and effect.
Thinking of the numbered areas on chart A as grades, the principles and policies governing the placing of positions in those areas or grades are not changed by S. 734. In determining the area in which a position is placed, the principle to be followed is that of "equal pay for substantially equal work," as is also the principle that variations in basic compensation or pay shall be “in proportion to substantial differences in the difficulty, responsibility, and qualification requirements of the work performed." Thus, the individual positions are classified according to "their duties, responsibilities, and qualification requirements and are identified by grades in accordance with standards published by the Civil Service Commission as provided in title IV of the act. Each position then goes into the area in the basic structure which represents the grade into which it has been classified.
COMPARISON PRESENT CLASSIFICATION ACT STRUCTURE
BEFORE S. 734 CHANGES
This structure and the system of operations evolved from it has been used for years in many phases of personnel administration. Multitudinous forms, procedures, decisions, policies, programs, and plans are related to this Classification Act structure. Changes in the structure must take into account the changes which will follow in the whole system of operations which has developed from it, as well as the cost of such changes. Although improvements are needed now in the Classification Act structure and more improvements will no doubt be necessary in the future, the existing structure is basically sound.
To build some other structure would upset and throw into confusion all the procedures, standards, forms, policies, and systems which would have to be changed to fit the new structure, but which would require little change to be adapted to appropriate improvements in the existing structure.
The National Federation of Federal Employees favors improvements in the existing structure by amending the Classification Act of 1949 as contemplated by S. 734. Areas or grades 1, 6, 8, and 10 are largely unoccupied. See table I, which shows the population or number of positions in each area or grade. These areas are combined under S. 734 with areas or grades 2, 7, 9, and 11, simply by removing partitions as shown in chart A. TABLE I.—Employees in full-time positions subject to the Classification Act of
1949, as amended, June 30, 1956
1 Less than 0.05 percent.
The removal of partitions between areas 1 and 2, 6 and 7, 8 and 9, and 10 and 11 leaves 14 areas or grades instead of 18 into which positions are to be placed.
This change in structure has a number of administrative advantages.
It reduces the number of areas, or grades, in which salaries overlap. Table II shows the salary rates that overlap into the next higher grade at present, and table III shows those that will overlap if S. 734 is enacted. Many difficulties in classifying positions as similar to one another as those now in existing grades 1 and 2, 6 and 7, 8 and 9, and 10 and 11 will be overcome by the S. 734 improvement in the Classification Act structure. This will facilitate the administration of the act by providing a better framework within which the classification of positions can be justified, and should improve morale and reduce complaints about classification of positions. The amount of each salary step-except in GS-15—will be increased by S. 734 so that
an employee who gets a step increase will feel that it really is an increase, considering the value of today's dollar. The amount of the increased salary step will be $100 for CA grades 1 through 3; $150 for CA grades 4 through 6; and $250 for CA grades 7 through 13.
TABLE II.-Overlapping grades, existing law-Classification Act of 1949
Italic figures show salary overlap between grades, i. e., the 5th (e) step of grade 1 is higher than the 1st (a) step of grade 2.
TABLE III.-Overlapping grades, proposed bill s. 734, amending Classification
Act of 1949
Italic figures show salary overlap between grades, i. e., the 4th (d) step of grade 1 is equal to the 1st (a) step of grade 2.
The maximum salary is increased by S. 734 to $17,500 for grade 14, which will relieve some, but not all, of the compression which disproportionate salary increases in the past have imposed on the pay structure. This can be of great value in improving the morale of employees by increasing the incentive to advance. There is something more to advance toward.
The symbol “CA” in S. 734 replaces the symbol “GS” in the existing Jaw and indicates a Classification Act grade for pay purposes. This symbol has no relation to the service” concept which formerly grouped personnel into such groups as “clerical, administrative, and