GovExec: Freezing Federal Salaries, OPM And Its Pension Backlog | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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."

NPR

Former Basketball Player Scores As A Filmmaker

While Deon Taylor was playing professional basketball in Germany, he had an epiphany: he wanted to make movies. The self-taught director's latest film, Supremacy, was released this Friday.
NPR

Surströmming Revisited: Eating Sweden's Famously Stinky Fish

Sweden has the distinction of producing surströmming, one of the foulest-smelling foods in the world. More than a decade ago, NPR's Ari Shapiro tried eating it and failed. It's time for a rematch.
NPR

What Romney's Retreat Means For GOP Hopefuls

NPR's Scott Simon speaks with senior Washington editor Ron Elving about the narrowing Republican presidential field for 2016 and what we've seen so far in the first month of the new Congress.
NPR

The Infinite Whiteness Of Public Radio Voices

The hashtag #publicradiovoices, about the "whiteness" of public radio, trended on Twitter this week. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with Gene Demby of NPR's Code Switch team about the conversation.

Leave a Comment

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