April 19, 2007
Bair Responds to NTEU Letter On
NTEU received a response from FDIC Chair Sheila Bair to a letter President Kelley recently sent expressing employee concerns about staffing and pay-for-performance, and seeking improved labor-management relations.
In her letter, Bair indicated that the FDIC will be "taking steps in the near future to try to better understand the concerns of our workforce" and asked for NTEU’s support "to ensure that employees at all levels are involved in discussions on key morale and employee engagement issues." She expressed a desire for “open and regular communications” and for "a truly collaborative working relationship between the FDIC and NTEU."
On the issue of
pay-for-performance, Bair said she is "sensitive" to employee concerns
about the program and plans "to review the current system and determine
whether improvements can be made to address those concerns." Kelley will
inform Bair that NTEU is prepared to enter into immediate discussions to
develop a pay system that meets the FDIC's needs while providing pay
increases that are fair, transparent and credible.
Kelley plans to follow up with Bair on other issues addressed in the letters, including the mechanisms for regular communications and collaboration between the FDIC and NTEU, and a process for NTEU to provide regular input on improving FDIC business processes and programs.
Updates on Kelley's discussions with Bair will be provided in future e-mails.
Sets the Record
NTEU is speaking out on a recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) measuring the effectiveness of FDIC’s “human capital and risk assessment programs.”
Corporate Employee Program
One aspect of the report important to NTEU and our members is the section on the Corporate Employee Program (CEP). Since its inception in June 2005, NTEU has been critical of the program, arguing that it ignores the serious consequences of FDIC going too far with downsizing efforts. In an effort to deal with decreased staffing and an increased workload, FDIC implemented the CEP to train employees in multiple functions, ignoring the reality that they cannot do all at the same time. FDIC’s strategy of having one employee perform the risk management and compliance functions, as well as resolutions, dilutes the expertise needed to develop these separate specialty areas.
This is the wrong direction for FDIC to take, particularly in light of the recent swell in bank closings and problems with mortgage loans, requiring closer supervision of institutions on the examinations side.
Professional Learning Accounts
Equally important as what is covered in the 71-page report is what is omitted. In discussing the Professional Learning Accounts training program, GAO fails to mention anything about the differences in funding allocations based on grade levels. While NTEU applauds the program for providing employees funding for outside training, the union opposed the FDIC’s funding model. The FDIC allots a greater per-employee allocation to higher graded employees (CG 13-15 and Corporate Managers) than to employees at Grades 12 journey level and below. NTEU believes that lower-graded employees typically have a greater need for external training than those at higher grades.
While NTEU has
voiced concerns over the effectiveness of the CEP and other FDIC
training and development initiatives, what does GAO think of them? It
cannot determine their effectiveness because the CEP lacks performance
"...to ensure that every federal employee is treated with dignity and respect."