Mark is going to blow a breaker over this article! lol
Thousands Get Guaranteed Promotions, Huge Raises
(Source: Stephen Losey, federaltimes.com, March 19, 2012)
The number of federal employees getting automatic grade promotions has skyrocketed, prompting experts to ask whether managers are abandoning their responsibilities to make personnel decisions.
The number of so-called "career ladder promotions" — which can boost an employee's pay by more than $10,000 a year, in some cases — jumped roughly 75 percent in the last three years, according to federal data. Last year, more than 108,000 employees received career ladder promotions, accounting for 35 percent of all promotions to a higher grade in the government last year. That's up from about 21 percent in 2008.
These promotions enable newly hired employees to quickly move up the ranks of the General Schedule and other personnel systems virtually automatically. Instead of advancing to the next step in their grade after a year on the job — which provides a roughly 3 percent increase — employees move up one or two entire grades. That gives them anywhere from a 10 percent to a 20 percent raise in one year.
Some employees receive career ladder promotions several years in a row as they advance to their full promotion level. Last year — the first year of a freeze to federal pay scales — the raises accompanying career ladder promotions cost the government between $634 million and $852 million, according to Federal Times calculations based on promotion statistics obtained from the Office of Personnel Management.
Career ladder promotions are intended to provide a path for employees who come in at the entry level to advance — without competition — as they learn new skills. Some federal personnel experts say it also has the effect of encouraging retention of young employees because their pay increases quickly. Surveys show new feds' job satisfaction plunges after about three years, and the government fears that will make it tougher to hold on to these employees. However, the use of career ladder promotions exploded in the post-recession period, while the private-sector job market remained extremely soft nationwide and the government was one of the few industries still hiring.