There will be no changes to locality pay for federal civilian employees in 2012, according to a report submitted by the President’s Pay Agent.
Each year, the President’s Pay Agent, i.e., the Secretary of Labor and the directors of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is required by law (Sec. 53044 of Title 5, U.S.C.) to report on the recommended locality-based comparability payments. However, these recommendations can be overridden, as they often are, by an alternative plan by the president or by legislation. This year, the Agent did submit the required report on what the comparability payments would be. But, because Congress passed a two-year pay freeze for 2011 and 2012 as requested by the president, there will be no locality pay increase for federal civilian employees in 2012.
The Pay Agent also recommended that no change be made to the current list of designated locality pay areas. Recommendations regarding locality pay locations are prepared by the Federal Salary Council based on Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data. The Council recommended that six areas should be considered for designation as separate locality pay areas: Albany, NY, Albuquerque, NM, Bakersfield, CA, Harrisburg, PA, Portland, ME, and Charlotte, NC. The Pay Agent cited the anticipated use of a new survey methodology system, the current economic conditions, and the legislated two-year pay freeze as reasons for not changing the locality pay areas.
In a letter transmitting the report to the president, the Pay Agent also expressed concerns about the continued use of a single percent adjustment in each locality pay area. This procedure, according to the report, ignores differing labor markets for different occupational groups within an area. The Pay Agent recommended that the model and methodology should be reexamined to ensure an accurate comparison of private and federal pay.
I have lived in Minot, ND for the last 22 years. I was active duty here for the first 10 years and a dependent spouse and now a government employee. I consider myself and family to be one of the LUCKY few in Minot after the huge change in our economy and now the historical natural disaster which has left 11000 people living in FEMA trailers and or leaving the city to another part of the country where they can afford to live. You see in 2003 a new technology for oil was developed and has brought an influx of people into our community as well as oil corporations that are buying up commercial and residential property for their employees. If not already bought, landowners are renting property at 2BR 1BT apartment for $2000 a month. Even E3 & E4 airman at the local base cannot afford to live in housing that expensive. And you know what – there is not enough housing at Minot AFB to house every AD personnel let alone DOD employees. Even though the government pays well, it is still not enough for someone to afford housing marketed to oil field workers… In fact I know a GS11 social worker that QUIT his job that he has been at for over two years because his landlord jacked his rent up every month for six months to $1500 a month… That is outrages. With all this said, I have not ever seen locality pay change for the Minot ND area in the time that I have lived here, it is on the general pay chart. It is going to be hard to hire new employees here and maintain them, especially if they are any of those that have lost their home in the flood and only got $30,200 to rebuild a $200000 home. Sad isn’t it….