CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Wednesday, July 31, 2013, the House will consider H.R. 2579, the Government Employee Accountability Act, under a suspension of the rules. The bill was introduced on June 28, 2013 by Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) and referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which ordered the bill reported by voice vote.
H.R. 2579 amends Title 5 of the U.S. Code to strengthen investigative leave requirements with respect to Senior Executive Service (SES) employees by adding two subsections, which deal exclusively with investigative leave and removal of SES employees. This legislation authorizes all federal agencies to place an employee on “investigative leave”, without pay if they determine that the employee’s conduct was serious or flagrant. Currently, the law allows two options: one can be placed on “administrative leave”, which allows for pay, or one can be placed on “suspension” with or without pay. In other words, no current mechanism exists for agencies to take away the pay of SES employees under investigative review for misconduct. The agency would be further required to submit a report to Congress every 45 days detailing the progress of the investigation. At the end of the investigative period, the agency would have the option to remove, suspend, or reinstate the employee.
In addition, the bill adds “misappropriation of funds” as a form of misconduct for which a person may be terminated. Currently, “misconduct”, “neglect of duty”, and “malfeasance” are the only forms of misconduct for which an employee can be placed on administrative leave or suspended. Employees would still retain existing due process rights, including the right to appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).
 “Investigative Leave” is defined as an authorized absence from duty for a period of 14-90 days for disciplinary reasons.
Senior Executive Service (SES) employees generally hold managerial, supervisory, and policy positions in agencies and are classified above General Schedule (GS) grade 15 or equivalent positions in the Executive Branch of the Federal Government. The bill was crafted as a response to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s review of SES employees whose behavior is unacceptable, and is intended to hold SES employees to a higher standard. This legislation comes in response to Jeff Neely, The Public Buildings Commissioner for the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Pacific Rim Region, being placed on administrative leave with pay. In 2010, Mr. Neely orchestrated a GSA conference in Las Vegas, Nevada that cost taxpayers over $800,000.
There is no CBO estimate currently available.
For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.