Federal Federal File

Bonus Round

By Michelle R. Davis — December 06, 2005 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

There’s a group of people at the Department of Education whom employees might want to be especially nice to in the next few weeks.

They’re the members of the department’s Performance Review Board, formed recently to help rate just how well members of the Senior Executive Service, which includes top career employees and political appointees, are doing their jobs and determine what their bonuses and salary increases should be.

A lot is at stake. Last year, Education Week found that some Education Department employees were awarded bonuses as high as $71,000 for 2003. Other bonuses for high-ranking employees ranged from $10,000 to $46,900. (“Most in Ed. Dept. Are Paid Bonuses for Performance,” Sept. 1, 2004.)

There were a few complaints. Employee-union members complained that there were no established criteria for awarding the bonuses and that the amounts in some cases seemed arbitrary.

Critics also complained about large bonuses specifically for political appointees, saying the practice sent the wrong message to career employees with lower salaries. President Bill Clinton had barred bonuses for political employees during his tenure in part for that reason, but in March 2002, the White House under President Bush issued a memo saying political employees were again eligible.

Now, in response to a regulation issued in October 2004 by the Office of Personnel Management, federal agencies must establish performance-review boards to rate individuals’ performance and make decisions on compensation, said Kevin R. Walter, an OPM spokesman.

The Education Department’s plan was certified earlier this year, and this is the first time the review board at the department will do its job, he said.

Kevin F. Sullivan, the department’s assistant secretary for outreach and communication, said the board met for the first time last week and is starting the process of reviewing assessments of employees. It won’t make recommendations for several weeks, and Mr. Sullivan said it would be premature to talk about the process until it’s complete.

But the board members will presumably be insulated from any bald attempts by employees to curry favor. So department employees shouldn’t attempt to sway them by giving them coveted parking spaces, putting designer coffee in their mugs, or making sure they don’t have to go begging for Post-Its.

Related Tags:

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal Schools Could Count Nonbinary Students Under Biden Proposal
The Civil Rights Data Collection for this school year could also revive questions about inexperienced teachers and preschool discipline.
6 min read
Image of a form with male and female checkboxes.
iStock/Getty
Federal 'Parents' Bill of Rights' Underscores Furor Over Curriculum and Transparency in Schools
U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley's bill highlights how education issues like critical race theory will likely stay in the national political spotlight.
7 min read
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., speaks during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the conclusion of military operations in Afghanistan and plans for future counterterrorism operations, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., says "it's time to give control back to parents, not woke bureaucrats."
Patrick Semansky/AP
Federal Opinion It’s Not Just the NSBA That’s Out of Touch. There’s a Bigger Problem
Those who influence educational policy or practice would do well to care about what parents and the public actually want.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Federal Dept. of Ed., Florida Continue to Battle Over Ban on School Mask Mandates
Federal officials say they’ll intervene if the Florida Dept. of Ed. goes ahead with sanctions on districts with mask mandates.
Ana Ceballos, Miami Herald
2 min read
Florida Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran speaks alongside Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, rear right, Fla. Sen. Manny Diaz Jr., left, state legislators, parents and educators, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021, at the Doral Academy Preparatory School in Doral, Fla.
Florida Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran speaks alongside Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, rear right, Fla. Sen. Manny Diaz Jr., left, state legislators, parents and educators, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021, at the Doral Academy Preparatory School in Doral, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee/AP