Bush proposal gives managers power to shape work force

Bush proposal gives managers power to shape work force

The Bush administration yesterday submitted a bill to Congress that would give federal managers greater discretion in worker buyouts, recruitment and retention.

The Managerial Flexibility Act was part of a package the administration called its Freedom to Manage initiative. The package also included the Freedom to Manage Act, which would require Congress to quickly consider proposals to change federal management rules.

The flexibility act would let managers offer their workers buyouts of up to $25,000 as a means of restructuring the work force. Rather than using buyouts and early retirement options only for downsizing, the bill would let agencies trim one area in order to build up another, such as IT employment.

Under the bill, federal managers would have more flexibility to set special salary rates and give bonuses for recruitment, retention and relocation, as well as to pay education costs. The proposal also would make it easier to implement demonstration projects by eliminating the 5,000-worker limit for a project and removing the provision that limits to 10 the number of demonstrations per agency.

Managers also could directly hire candidates for positions with a worker shortage or a critical need.

Senior executives would see increases in top pay as well as the amount of leave they could be granted as a hiring incentive. The idea behind the change is to treat senior executives more like their private-sector counterparts, according to a summary of the legislation issued by the Office of Management and Budget.


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