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COUNCIL 216 NOTES

March 22, 2004

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Levi Morrow, the Chief Negotiator and I, met in HQ last week to discuss the preliminary results of the performance management survey.  About 800 employees responded.  We are in the process of analyzing the results and preparing a report to go out.  Our target for distribution of the survey report is no later than the third week of April.  WE anticipate posting the report and the statistical data on Insite.

Some interesting things jumped out, notwithstanding the cursory review. Of those who responded, a change in the number of rating levels would be welcome. More people seem to want four rating levels than five rating levels

We discussed the fact that OPM is concerned about the high number of Outstanding SES ratings. There is some high level political concern because it appears that SES ratings are not tied to the agencyís performance.

I want to remind you that although many of you have questioned how Directors and supervisors can be outstanding when everyone else or most employees are just proficient, this issue has been brewing with OPM this year,

.... the following excerpts are from the February 23 edition of the "Federal Times ." 

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has been after federal department leaders for years to develop more rigorous performance-appraisal systems for senior executives by tying individual performance ratings to agencies' overall performance.  And, the proposed increases in caps for senior executive pay and bonuses are contingent on agencies developing more detailed performance-appraisal systems. 

In 2002, every senior executive at the Departments of Education, Housing and Urban Development, Social Security and Transportation (418 of them) was given the highest rating. 

Ms. Doris Hausser, senior policy adviser to OPM Director Kay Coles James, recently stated, "...Most agency programs and functions vary in their performance and results, and senior executives' performance appraisals should reflect that.  None of this requires a one-to-one correlation, but there would be an expectation of some relationship between the general distribution of ratings and general performance."

Some senior executives bristle at the suggestion of a correlation between agency performance and individual performance appraisals.  Carol Bonosaro, president of the Senior Executives Association, says that she hopes OPM does not require that senior executives' appraisals match agency performance.  "Each executive should be judged on his or her merits, .." Bonosaro said. 

CASE SOFT

By now, you should have received a copy of the Case Soft MOU.  Please make sure that it is forwarded to all of the attorneys.  It is a litigation management program and tool that allows attorneys to manage and cross reference litigation documents, depositions, witnesses and even a time line.

OFP CALL

The last OFP call was March 11. Johnny and Pat Floyd were present.  We discussed managementís concerns about what is placed on e-mail or bulletin boards.  So far, only one of you responded that you knew anything about this. Although Joann indicated she wanted to talk about this issue when I was in HQ last week, she did not raise the topic.  Joann indicated that managers were advised that it is election season for the Council.  According to Joann, managers were advised to remain neutral.  We need to understand that management will be viewing what we send.  If we adhere to the rule of using e-mail for labor relations business, there should not be a problem.

Management also raised the question of how long vacancy announcements would continue to be provided in hard copy.  All are placed on SOARS. The problem I found is that if you register, you only see certain announcements. So, I propose to ask that the Local Presidents continue to receive e-mail copies, of vacancy announcements for the respective local.  I need to hear from others if you have any thought on this.  Please let me know by Wednesday, close of business.

Joann reported that she made a counteroffer to the Unionís last survey proposal. Levi advised Mike to follow-up.

Joann also indicated that they would like to continue working on the Harassment Order. Joann was advised to work with Mike and Deborah on this.

On the issue of the performance management survey, there was concern about Johnnieís e-mail advising employees not respond. I advised Joann that the Council sanctioned the survey and we needed their responses.  I also advised that if employees came to or called OHR with questions about the survey, she should advise the employees to contact the Local President.

I raised the issue of what happens next with repositioning. I was advised that the Chair received the work group report, along with all of the other information, that the Chair will review it , but that it will take some time to review. Then, the Chair must get her proposal to the Commissioners for a vote. We need to be concerned whether this will be a notation vote, which means there will be no public discussion of what went on and what people really felt about it.

It was also reported that the Vice-Chair submitted the report of the work group as is, without making any changes.

The next call is this week on March 25, 2004. Next on the list are Michael and Stephanie. The two of you should notify me of the call-in number, so I can connect you to the call.  Anyone who has any issues to be raised, or information you want, please let me know by COB Wednesday, March 24, 2004, so we can include it on the agenda.

All EMPLOYEE MEETING

As you know, the all employee meeting was held last week at the Mayflower Hotel Grand Ballroom.  Employees form Washington Field Office and Headquarters were invited.  The meeting was taped for distribution to the field. The meeting covered the accomplishments of the Headquarters and WFO offices,  In addition, employee(s) from each office were recognized with a PETE award. 

There was an interesting presentation by Angela Oh. The presentation was on our mission here, the legacy we have, and the need to continue our work. As we go about our work, we can get exhausted trying to keep pace, or we can draw from our inner strength by breathing and creating quiet space for ourselves to reflect on the work we have to do.

EEOC ORDERS AND DIRECTIVES

Kathleen Harmon was in headquarters last week reviewing the directive on Leave. As you know, the CBA requires that the orders be consistent with the CBA and provides for a review. Kathy is reviewing the proposed changes to the directive and working to make it more informative and to provide a single document where leave questions can be answered.  This is an opportunity to address questions on leave you may have.  Send comments and concerns to Kathy. 

MEETING WITH THE CHAIR

Friday afternoon, we met with the Chair. The Chair and OHR are concerned about the decisions on overtime pay. Obviously, there is a cost to the agency and the Chair indicated that the money comes from hiring funds. Although the Chair indicated that she was not suggesting that there be stricter record keeping on breaks, we all must recognize that we should be working when we are at work  In addition, we all must recognize that our time records should be accurate and reflect the time we signed in and out. There should be no over time work that is off the books. 

THE COUNCIL WEBSITE

Please continue to check the Councilís website, www.council216.org for information.