1428Federal Register / Vol. 64, No. 5 / Friday, January 8, 1999 / Notices
With respect to the Customer Relations factor, it is important to note that all six CCAS factors are critical factors. Accordingly, an employee would not be expected to violate controlling laws or regulations in an effort to fulfill this factor.
(2) Funds Availability and General Pay Increase
Comments: Eight commentors inquired about funds availability for contribution rating increases and awards. They also believed the cost of living increase should be excluded from the pay pool. Nine commentors believed that CCAS would harm teamwork and lead to excessive competition among employees (or between managers and employees) for a finite amount of funds within a pay pool. Several others asked what effect achieving comparability under the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act of 1990 (FEPCA) might have on CCAS.
Response: Regarding funds availability, the project establishes mandatory funding floors for pay pools, with which participating organizations must comply.
As a point of clarification, the annual GS pay adjustment authorized under 5 U.S.C. 5303 is based on the cost of labor, not the cost of living. This pay increment is linked to changes in a component of the Employment Cost Index (ECI) that measures the overall rate of change in employers’ wage and salary costs in the private sector. Thus, this pay increment is appropriately included in the pay pools.
As to CCAS’s effect on teamwork, “Teamwork/Cooperation” is one of the six CCAS factors on which participants will be rated. Employees in matrix-managed organizations, as well as those in functional organizations, will have the opportunity to work as a team to accomplish the mission of the organization.
Regarding FEPCA, notwithstanding any other provision of this demonstration project, if General Schedule employees receive an increase under 5 U.S.C. 5303 that exceeds the amount otherwise required by that section on the date of this notice, the excess portion of such increase shall be paid to demonstration project employees in the same manner as to General Schedule employees. The excess portion of such increase shall not be distributed through the pay pool process.
(3) Locality Pay
Comments: Several commentors disagreed with including locality pay in the pay pools.
Response: The commentors were apparently misinformed; locality pay is not included in pay pool funding. Demonstration project employees will continue to receive locality pay as they do now.
Comments: Three commentors suggested that overall contribution scores be related to the current system with an adjective rating. One commentor said special rates should continue in effect to attract quality personnel. Another said that all employees rated “above the rails” (i.e., in the “A” region) would be reduced in basic pay, which in turn would reduce their retirement annuities. Several objected to the terms “overcompensated” and “undercompensated” for employees rated above and below the rails, respectively.
Response: The project itself does not incorporate adjective ratings, but it does provide an adjective rating that corresponds to the current system for use when employees leave the demonstration project.
The project does not use special rates. However, increased opportunities for pay progression under broadbanding should more than offset this. Additionally, former special rate employees will now receive locality pay, for which they previously were ineligible. Managers will also have greater flexibility to set pay above the minimum rate of the range upon initial appointment and promotion under the demonstration’s broadbanding system.