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A controversial pay-for-performance system used by Department of Defense civilian employees, including more than 100 on station, was abolished by the president Nov. 2, 2009.

Authorized in fiscal year 2004, the short lived National Security Personnel System was cut as part of the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act.

NSPS is used by more than 220,000 supervisors, management officials, confidential employees, personnel administrators and other non-union positions in the military.

Among the station’s 464 DoD civilian employees, 109 are paid using NSPS.

Most NSPS employees will transition to the General Schedule pay system, which has been used since 1949, said Kay Carroll, station deputy NSPS coordinator.

The entire transition must be accomplished by Jan. 1, 2012.

Employees currently paid under the NSPS will continue to be paid under the system until a plan to fully transition them to a different system is approved by Congress, said Tim Curry, acting program executive officer.

The new law also ensures personnel will not receive a reduction in pay when they transition out of NSPS, said Curry.

The Department of Defense will not begin to switch employees out of NSPS until a comprehensive plan is established to ensure a smooth transition with the least amount of disruption to organizations and employees, said Carroll.

The new law gives NSPS officials six months to submit their plan to Congress.

“Within the prescribed timeframe, the Secretary of Defense has authority to carry out the transition and the DoD will begin to work with key stakeholders to develop a plan of action outlining the policies, processes, procedures and milestones that will be followed in accomplishing the transition,” said Carroll.

Until NSPS is phased out, the station human resources office will continue to fill NSPS positions, said Carroll.

The major complaint about NSPS was that it was overly complicated and employees had a hard time understanding the complex pay pool process, said Curry.

“Our biggest problem with NSPS was the significant increase in time required as far as training and conducting performance appraisals,” said Greg McShane, station airfield operations officer, who is paid via the NSPS. “There was a lot of time involved, but it could be financially rewarding because of the performance-based pay.”

The GS system works on a time-in-grade system for pay increases, whereas the NSPS was based on performance evaluations that worked much like the proficiency and conduct marks some Marines receive from their supervisors, said McShane.

“How you feel about the change really depends on how hard you work,” said McShane.

The new law also requires NSPS to submit plans to Congress for a performance management system, hiring flexibilities, training requirements and the department’s ability to go back to Congress for added personnel flexibilities, said Curry.

Curry is hoping that the lessons learned from the NSPS will help develop a better performance management system in the future.

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