OPM RESPONDS TO JONES AND COLLEAGUES ON LOCALITY PAY FOR VIRGINIA BEACH-NORFOLK CSA

Apr 17, 2018 Issues: Economy and Jobs, Armed Services

WASHINGTON, DC – Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director, Dr. Jeff Pon, responded last week to a bipartisan letter sent by Representatives Walter Jones (NC-03), Scott Taylor (VA-02), Bobby Scott (VA-03), and G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) about the delay in establishing Virginia Beach-Norfolk (VA-NC CSA) as a new locality pay area.

President Trump's Pay Agent, which consists of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Director of OPM, and the Secretary of Labor, is responsible for administering the locality pay program based on recommendations from the Federal Salary Council. Since 2015, the Council has been recommending to the Pay Agent that Virginia Beach-Norfolk be established as a separate locality pay area, which will assist with recruitment and retention efforts for the approximate 30,500 civilian federal employees who reside and work in this region.

According to the letter, OPM received approval from the Pay Agent on December 20, 2017, to move forward with the regulatory process, which takes several months to complete due to requirements contained in the Administrative Procedure Act. The letter further states that OPM's goal is to have both proposed and final regulations issued in conjunction with the next pay adjustment cycle, which is January 2019.

“I am very pleased that OPM has met our request to designate the Virginia Beach-Norfolk VA-NC region as a locality pay area,” said Congressman Jones. “It is the right thing to do for over 30,000 military men and women, as well as our workers at the Norfolk Naval and Newport News shipyards.  They contribute so much to the security of our nation, and we are grateful for all they do.”

"Since the Federal Salary Council's recommendation in 2015, the pay gap for our area constituents and neighbors in federal employment has continued to grow. Many of the federal workers in Hampton Roads are employed in the defense industry, which means their work product is directly tied to our national security. As we continue ahead to January, my office will continue monitoring this situation to ensure that OPM completes their end of this process to make sure our constituents are properly paid”, said Congressman Scott Taylor.

“I am pleased that OPM has started the process to establish Virginia Beach-Norfolk (VA-NC CSA) as a new locality pay area, which is a victory for over 30,000 federal workers. The cost of living in our districts has been outpacing federal salary increases and employees were overdue for a raise. Our national security is dependent on ensuring these federal employees are paid properly for their work," stated Congressman Bobby Scott.

“Our nation’s federal workforce is highly-skilled and dedicated to serving our country despite pay being modest,” said Congressman G. K. Butterfield.  “If we want our federal agencies to attract and keep quality employees, the pay and benefits need to be competitive.  OPM’s response to our request to designate the Virginia Beach-Norfolk (VA-NC CSA) region as a locality pay area is a good first step to filling the pay gap for our neighbors who are federal employees.”

The original request letter and OPM’s response letter to Congressman Jones are attached.

For additional information, please contact Allison Tucker in Congressman Walter Jones’ office at Allison.tucker@mail.house.gov or (202) 225-3415.

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