The White House Suspends the Presidential Rank Awards

Did anyone know the program existed?

June 13, 2013

The Obama administration plans to temporarily suspend the Presidential Rank Awards, a federal bonus program that rewards agency executives for distinguished service. In 2012, 122 federal employees were recognized.

The Presidential Rank Awards were established in 1978. Winners are selected by the White House from a pool of agency-nominated candidates collected by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Selected winners receive a one-time bonus award between 20 and 35 percent of their salary, which this year can range from just under $120,000 up to $179,700.

News of the suspension comes in the wake of other federal agencies receiving public scrutiny for awarding bonuses to their employees: the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has reportedly awarded $92 million in bonuses since 2009, and the General Services Administration (GSA) was revealed to have handed out questionable cash “Peer-2-Peer” awards to senior executives.

While the association representing federal senior executives opposes the suspension of the Presidential Rank Awards, an administration official cited “reduced budgetary resources” as a reason for the suspension and revealed the administration’s intent to find “means to acknowledge excellence in non-monetary ways.”

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