Senior Executive Service: A Lost Cause or a Lost Gem in Need of Rejuvenation?

The top tier law firms have just announced salaries for 1st year associates.

The salary of a first year associate now exceeds the salary of every career federal regulator in the US government. The citizenry ponder why existing regulations allow billionaires to pay only a token level of taxes; little wonder if the federal government can only attract at its senior most levels only those very few extremely qualified personnel who have a passion for serving the public however great their personal sacrifice, a rare find in  the  predominant “Me Only” generation.

Consideration should be given to tripling the salaries of those in the Senior Executive Service and reducing its size by two-thirds; small incremental increases will not address the issue but the aforementioned budget neutral proposal will constitute a gigantic step in the right direction. The fact that SES member salaries will be above those at the cabinet level is not a problem because their salary increases will materialize in their post government employment.

Appointment to the SES should be contingent upon first soliciting the views of an Advisory Council evenly divided between active and inactive  members of the SES.

Jim Tozzi

Managing Director of the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness                                                      Former Assistant Director of OMB

2 comments. Leave a Reply

  1. Anonymous

    Terminating all existing SES and creating an entirely new, smaller, well-paid force would be beneficial. Currently, too many SES are agency-specific (non-transferable skills), unwilling or unable to relocate geographically, unwilling or unable to be used as troubleshooters or rapid-response assets to address troubled programs or challenges, and worst of all, SES is often used merely as a reward for longevity within an agency.

    That is not to say that there are some exceptional SES who are flexible, broadly-skilled, and essential to government operations. It is to say that this is not true of the vast majority of them.

    Reform also needs to address grade inflation within the civil service and the fact that it is virtually impossible to transfer between federal agencies as a way to broaden skills and experience.

  2. CRE

    We appreciate the informative response. As CRE holds discussions with the leadership in a number of stakeholder groups we most certainly will consider your comments. To further the maturation of the CRE proposal we suggest that other stakeholders use the comment section provided herein to disseminate in a public forum key information to all concerned.

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