Post by Anonymous Regarding Veterans Affairs
We recently received this information from a someone who posted at the GovExec.com site. He (or she) reports GovExec.com would not approve the reply. We recently incorporated some of the information from in a previous post on this site. Our consultants report the sentiments represented here are fairly wide-spread in the VA.
The following was made by someone in response to the announcement the House voted to ban bonuses for all VA employees through 2016.
I am a VA employee, GS-12 with a Master Degree. 8 consecutive outstanding performance ratings. I take my job seriously. I AM OUT OF HERE. Not sticking around for more garbage to be force fed to me. Not waiting for my VA downgrade on top of payfreezes and now this, The VA has nothing to offer anyone GS-12 or below that they could not otherwise get working for Costco.
Reply to the reply (GovExec.com reportedly has not approved for posting): I was just wondering, how much was your bonus that not getting it would make you finally decide to move on.
The bonus issue is just one component of consideration in the decision making process. Combine that with years of pay freezes, elimination of retention allowances (which I have received due to skills), vast position downgrades in VA (thank VACO and VISN classifiers for that), little prospect of any real raises in future, no QSI’s (I am at top step) or special contribution awards, and possible elimination of the SS supplement in the future, and no reason exists to stay unless you cannot find better employment. That is not the case for me and many others. Of note, I am a title 5 employee, not 38 or hybrid.
On the issue of bonuses. I am not ashamed to say (many are) I am a top performer as rated by VA (number of years). At best, my performance award (bonus) was $3k. The least for an outstanding has been $900. These are nominal awards in my opinion. I am very plugged in to the local private sector. My nearest comparable private sector equivalent position makes 20% to 30% more than I do with nearly equivalent benefits (some are actually better). This is the norm. Furthermore, their bonuses for both performance and special achievement are about 5x greater on average. They all have employer matching benefit (dollar for dollar) in a 401k TSP equivalent style plan. The only benefit they appear to lack is a defined pension benefit. That is not enough to hold most smart people back since at best, 1% per year of service is nominal in my opinion and there is a good chance these benefits will be significantly reduced in the future by the GOP. They already started.
The mission of helping vets is not enough to keep me here (I am a compensable rated vet myself at a nominal rate). The public service “mission” concept was intended to make employees feel good about making less money because they were in public service. Republicans ended that concept for most smart federal employees. They convinced me (us) I am a leach, parasite, and a burden to American society and that I provide nothing of value.
Therefore, I, and many others are effectively planning our departures. 20 plus years of service in VA amounted to nothing. Let it collapse and let the functions move to private sector, AFTER I leave. I will make even more money if they privatize because of the experience I already have. It’s a win-win……….For me. Oh, by the way American people and US Veterans, about 1/3 of the VA Workforce can retire today.