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Human Capital: Trends in Executive and Judicial Pay

GAO-06-708 Published: Jun 22, 2006. Publicly Released: Jul 21, 2006.
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Critical to the success of the federal government's transformation are its people--human capital. Yet, the government has not transformed, in many cases, how it classifies, compensates, develops, and motivates its employees to achieve maximum results within available resources and existing authorities. GAO has reported that the federal government as a whole may face challenges in offering competitive compensation to its senior leaders who have reached a statutory pay cap. As requested, GAO (1) provided trend data for basic pay rates of selected federal executive and judicial pay plans from 1970 to 2006, (2) identified elements of total compensation for the selected pay plans in 2006, and (3) identified principles for any possible restructuring of these pay plans. We selected 1970 as a baseline because salary increases went into effect in 1969 for executive-level positions as recommended by the Commission on Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Salaries. The pay plans cover the following--career Senior Executive Service (SES), administrative law judges (ALJ), senior-level (SL), Executive Schedule (EX), scientific or professional (ST), and members of Boards of Contract Appeals (BCA), as well as federal justices and judges--the Chief Justice, associate justices, circuit judges, district judges, and judges of the U.S. Court of International Trade.

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Comparative analysisExecutive compensationJudicial compensationPay ratesHuman capitalFederal judgesSenior Executive ServiceEmployee compensationInflationConsumer price index