WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Filed Under:

GovExec: Freezing Federal Salaries, OPM And Its Pension Backlog

Play associated audio

In this era of concern about the federal deficit, the federal workforce has been a common target for spending reductions. Federal salaries have already been frozen for two years, and now there are calls for additional curbs on compensation. Kellie Lunnie, a senior reporter at Government Executive, talks to WAMU Morning Edition host Matt McCleskey about what that could mean for federal employees. 

On legislation that would affect federal employee benefits: "There are a few major pieces of legislation that would extend the federal pay freeze for between one and two additional years," Lunnie says. "There are other pieces of legislation that … would increase the amount that federal employees and lawmakers contribute to their federal pensions. 

Likelihood of of the pay freeze being extended: "The odds are probably low," Lunnie says. "It does not have support of most Democrats."

What federal employees are saying about President Obama's 0.5 percent pay increase for federal workers: As far as how it's being received by federal workers, the sentiment seems to be 'thanks for the .5% pay bump for next year, but no thanks,'" Lunnie says.

On the backlog of federal retirees seeking retirement benefits from the Office of Personnel Management: "It's a very big problems, one that's gone on for 20 years," Lunnie says. "There's about 62,000 claims in the retirement backlog … Congress is really putting pressure on them to get this done." 

On the fix needed to clear the backlog: "Ultimately, an information technology system that automates the process," Lunnie says. "It is a complicated, right now paper-and-pencil system. Staffers … can process 3-4 cases a day, but that's not a lot when you're talking about thousands and thousands of retirement claims that are backlog."

Possible progress: "I think there will be  progress, because they're really getting their feet held to the fire," Lunnie says. "But it's really going to take a lot of pieces falling into place before this issue gets resolved."

WAMU 88.5

Kate Mulgrew: "Born With Teeth" (Rebroadcast)

Kate Mulgrew, who stars as "Red" in the Netflix TV series "Orange Is The New Black", opens up in a new memoir about her complicated family and the baby she gave away for adoption as a young woman.


Swapping The Street For The Orchard, City Dwellers Take Their Pick Of Fruit

Urban foragers don't just pick their meals from the trash; many eat only the finest, freshest produce — picked from city trees. The League of Urban Canners harvests fruit from trees to make jam.

Reconsidering The Pilgrims, Piety And America's Founding Principles

Conservatives who want to emphasize America's Christian roots embrace the story of the Pilgrims and the Mayflower Compact. But some historians say their role in the country's founding is overstated.

From Takeout To Breakups: Apps Can Deliver Anything, For A Price

Convenience is at an all-time premium — and a lot of smartphone apps promise to make many of the things we do every day easier. In a time-crunch or sheer laziness, how far will the apps take us?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.