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Monday, September 18, 2006

GAO: Reform IGs’ faulty pay system

"The pay structure for inspectors general is faulty and needs to be reformed to attract the best candidates, a panel of experts convened in May by the Government Accountability Office concluded.

IGs' salaries are capped at $143,000, when they reach the rank of Executive Schedule Level IV. What's more, IGs are forbidden from receiving annual bonuses to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest.

But Senior Executive Service employees who work under IGs do receive cash awards or bonuses, and their annual pay can sometimes reach $212,000, which is the vice president's salary.

This means that assistant IGs would have their pay cut if they were promoted, and as a result are happy to stay where they are, GAO said in a September report summarizing the panel's findings and opinions. The 43 members of the panel - including Comptroller General David Walker, Office of Personnel Management Director Linda Springer, former IGs, academics and congressional staffers - said further studies are needed to decide whether IGs should be part of the Senior Executive Service and how they should be evaluated.

IGs are appointed either by the president or by an agency head or other designated official. OPM is studying the pay situation for presidentially appointed IGs. And a bill introduced last year by Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., would give IGs appointed by agency heads salaries comparable to those agencies’ senior staff members. That bill, HR 2489, has yet to be considered by the House Government Reform Committee."

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