Comments on Reauthorization of the Performance Management and Recognition System

T-GGD-89-36: Published: Jul 18, 1989. Publicly Released: Jul 18, 1989.

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GAO discussed proposed changes to the Performance Management and Recognition System (PMRS), a pay-for-performance system for federal managers and supervisors. GAO noted that federal employees did not perceive PMRS, scheduled to expire on September 30, 1989, as fully meeting its objectives to motivate and reward employees, citing such problems as: (1) lack of consideration of performance in determining who received awards; (2) insufficient monetary amounts to motivate employees; (3) inequitable performance ratings and awards; and (4) salary inequities among PMRS and general schedule employees. GAO also noted that proposed legislation to correct such problems would: (1) extend PMRS, with some minor modifications, for 1 year, to provide agencies sufficient time to prepare for major long-term PMRS changes; (2) relax limits on award funding, reduce the five-level rating system to three levels, restructure base pay increases, eliminate the direct link between ratings and performance awards, and establish a board of PMRS employees to make performance award decisions; (3) not prohibit board personnel from granting themselves awards; (4) prevent managers and agency heads from making award decisions; and (5) eliminate a level at which 47 percent of PMRS employees were rated during fiscal year 1987.

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