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NSPS - National Security Personnel System


NSPS is the Department of Defense's (DoD) flexible and responsive civilian management system that: (1) values performance and contribution, (2) encourages communication, (3) supports broader skill development, and (4) promotes excellence in the workplace

NSPS modernizes a 50-year-old civil service system, allowing DoD to better attract, recruit, retain, compensate, reward and manage employees. The system focuses on people, performance, and employment decisions that are cost-effective and best for business practice.


(source: Defense Civilian Personnel Advisory Service)

To read today's top news stories on federal employee pay, benefits, retirement, job rights and other workplace issues visit FederalDaily.com.
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Trent  
#1 Posted : Thursday, August 11, 2011 12:46:31 PM(UTC)
engineer850

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For all of those who had special salary rate pay deducted from their basic pay at the NSPS to GS transition and were not receiving a special pay supplement under NSPS there are a few more options available. MSPB is trying exceedingly to avoid dealing with the issue so OPM looks to be our best bet without going to a class action lawsuit. Removing a supplemental amount from basic pay when it was not previously provided is in direct conflict with 5 CFR 530. I was overseas and have now returned stateside and am working the issue with local management which has much better civilian representation and hope to have some better results than overseas. I have also initiated a congressional inquiry and will have to see if it can help. I understand the 2210's are being locally fixed, perhaps based on their direct influential position, and that engineers have not been corrected across DOD. Some are making efforts to create new rules but all that really needs to happen is for DOD CPMS to correctly apply SSR. For those receiving SSR under NSPS their pay should be apportioned accordingly upon transition to GS. For those not previously receiving SSR under NSPS but now in a position covered by SSR a SSR amount should be added to their pay based on 5 CFR 530. (Retroactive back pay needs to be evaluated for the time in position while under NSPS.) DOD CPMS appears to assume that everyone covered now by SSR was previously receiving SSR under NSPS, which assumption is incorrect. 
Our best chances to get this globally fixed would be through OPM or a class action lawsuit. We need to combine our efforts to let OPM know about this problem we have been given. One of OPM's websites is http://www.opm.gov/payclaims/.
Don't give up, I certainly am not until this is properly fixed! SSR and special salary rates are legislated to be a benefit, not a detriment, which has happened because DOD CPMS create their own rules instead of following 5 CFR 530.




engineer8502011-08-12 15:17:50
Trent  
#2 Posted : Friday, August 12, 2011 4:27:09 AM(UTC)
engineer850

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The condensed version of the original post is:
In general, Engineers and IT Specialists have had their basic pay erroneously reduced based on a rule created by  DOD CPMS, not by a law signed by Congress. I can provide code references to anyone interested in researching this issue.
Travis  
#3 Posted : Sunday, August 21, 2011 2:51:01 AM(UTC)
huetert

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Sorry it's been a couple of months since I last checked in. I was starting to get used the the pay cut. What news have you heard about 2210's having their pay adjusted locally? I haven't heard a thing in my neck of the woods. I'm still making less now then in 2006 when i started working GS. Anybody have any case numbers from MSPB? I took a 30% cut last year I'm interested to hear the news. Thanks.

Travis  
#4 Posted : Sunday, August 21, 2011 2:55:17 AM(UTC)
huetert

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Also as a side note. Does anybody have any friends in the air force or navy who are 2210's who converted overseas? What happened to them? I'm guessing pretty much everybody on here is DA. If some people in other branches were converted correctly that makes a pretty strong case. Thanks
pcmc  
#5 Posted : Wednesday, August 24, 2011 3:48:08 AM(UTC)

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I’m an overseas 2210 working for the USAF.  We are in the same boat as everyone else.
Trent  
#6 Posted : Wednesday, August 24, 2011 7:17:13 AM(UTC)
engineer850

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I have talked with contacts at several bases and have been told that 2210's were locally fixed at base level, but this information was provided through engineering management. I talked with one 2210 personally at RAB who was reclassified to a higher grade which offset the SSR loss. I have been told the 2210's at Kadena have been fixed, whether it was through reclassification or pay adjustments I am not clear. Have you not been corrected at all and are in the same situation as the engineers?
pcmc  
#7 Posted : Thursday, August 25, 2011 4:16:18 AM(UTC)

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Not corrected at all.  Trying to get position graded higher, which would help, but would still not fully correct pay issue.  I wonder how they would adjust pay locally?
Trent  
#8 Posted : Saturday, September 24, 2011 2:16:50 PM(UTC)
engineer850

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For one of the IT Specialists I know they bumped him up to the next grade and set his pay equivalent to what it was prior to the removal of the supplemental amount. I am still waiting for information in reference to how the rest were fixed in other locations. I am working with OPM and my Congressman to resolve this but a class-action lawsuit may be needed if the previous two steps don't work. 
Trent  
#9 Posted : Wednesday, November 02, 2011 10:52:36 AM(UTC)
engineer850

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Another aspect to correct pay for those who were OCONUS under NSPS and returned CONUS and received a cut in pay would be to apply 10 USC 1586 "Each employee who is placed in a position under paragraph (1), (2), (3), (4), or (6) of subsection (c) shall be paid at a rate of basic pay which is not less than the rate of basic pay to which he would have been entitled if he had not been assigned to duty outside the United States" 
Paragraph (1) and (2) state(1) The employee shall be placed in the position which he held immediately before his assignment to duty outside the United States, if such position exists.(2) If such position does not exist, or with his consent, the employee shall be placed in a vacant existing position, or in a new continuing position, for which he is qualified, available for the purposes of this section in the department concerned, in the same geographical area as, with rights and benefits equal to the rights and benefits of, and in a grade equal to the grade of, the position which he held immediately before his assignment to duty outside the United States.
So basically, when you exercise your return rights you should not lose pay compared to if you had never reassigned overseas. This should keep special salary rate employees from losing pay upon returning home even with the mistakes of NSPS, assuming it is followed.
Trent  
#10 Posted : Thursday, November 17, 2011 9:10:14 AM(UTC)
engineer850

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In fighting this battle with DOD CPMS I find the biggest oversight by DOD is the misunderstanding of how to apply 5 CFR 530. 5 CFR 530.321 specifically states: 
"§ 530.321   General. (a) This section and §§530.322 and 530.323 provide conversion rules for setting an employee's pay when a special rate schedule is established, increased, decreased, or discontinued, or when an employee's coverage under an existing special rate schedule is affected by a change in coverage criteria.
Those who transitioned from NSPS to GS have experienced a change in coverage criteria. Everyone not previously receiving SSR who lost pay when transitioning from NSPS to GS should appeal to OPM if they have already been rejected by MSPB or by their Agency in writing, and follow the steps in the first posting. 5 CFR 530 directly applies and specifically 530.322 which directs how to add SSR, which is the major hangup with DOD CPMS. DOD CPMS created and followed a Transition Guide instead of following 5 CFR 530.322. The Transition Guide led to illegal and inconsistent application of SSR within DOD. The steps below are very clear.
§ 530.322   Setting pay when a special rate schedule is newly established or increased.

(a) General rule. When an employee holds a position that becomes covered by a newly established special rate schedule (including a schedule for which coverage is expanded) or increased special rate schedule (including an increased special rate range within a schedule), the agency must set the employee's special rate at the step (or relative position in range for a GM employee) of the grade on the new special rate schedule that corresponds to the employee's existing numerical step (or relative position in range for a GM employee) as in effect immediately before the new special rate schedule takes effect, except as otherwise provided in this section. The corresponding special rate is determined by adding the applicable special rate supplement on top of the employee's GS rate, subject to the limitation that no special rate may exceed the rate for level IV of the Executive Schedule.

In other words, DOD should have set the step level on a standard pay table then use the special salary rate pay table to add the supplemental amount. I would suggest using the above methodology when addressing the root of the problem. DOD CPMS has provided no legally compliant argument for how the initial basic pay was reduced and segregated other than they followed the "NSPS Transition Guide" when the NSPS to GS transition occurred. Good luck and I will keep you posted on how my efforts are proceeding. I hoping to resolve this without a class action lawsuit as the government has enough debt already.

Fed1969  
#11 Posted : Saturday, November 19, 2011 9:09:47 AM(UTC)

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How did they do the conversion from GS to NSPS?  It seems to me the reverse should be done.
Trent  
#12 Posted : Monday, November 21, 2011 7:45:14 AM(UTC)
engineer850

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DOD CPMS did exactly what you propose to reverse the transition but the failure lies in the fact that many people changed positions while under NSPS. If everyone had stayed in the same position during all of NSPS everything would have been fine, but most people didn't stay in their original position. 
Those who were on SSR when GS transitioned to NSPS had a supplemental amount added to their basic pay. If those people were promoted or changed to another position where SSR no longer applied, such as returning from overseas to stateside, prior to the NSPS to GS transition, they kept the SSR amount and had locality pay added to it, which constitutes a permanent windfall. Those who reassigned overseas under NSPS never had an SSR amount added under NSPS, but upon transitioning from NSPS to GS a portion of basic pay was removed and called SSR, which was discarded when they return stateside. 
Unfortunately DOD CPMS applied rules to physical positions instead of people and didn't fully consider the ramifications of their actions. Each situation must be handled individually and corrected, hopefully without the need of a class action lawsuit.
Trent  
#13 Posted : Tuesday, December 06, 2011 7:04:39 AM(UTC)
engineer850

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My stateside base has successfully fixed my pay after my recent return CONUS! Thanks much to their efforts in addressing this problem! My base applied AFI36-802 1.2.11 and 10 USC 1586. This fix applies to those who were overseas during the NSPS to GS transition mess. 

To all others affected but not overseas I recommend the following the information below.

To all of those who were placed on special salary rate pay tables and had their basic pay reduced when you transitioned from NSPS to GS please help fix the problem by doing the following (these steps are for those who reassigned under NSPS and never had a special salary rate added to basic pay prior to the transition to GS but subsequently had a portion removed and called SSR upon transition to GS):

  1. File a complaint with your agency if you have not done so, in writing.  A generic email for DOD CPMS is cpmsnote@cpms.osd.mil for starters if you cannot receive a written reply at your base level. I can provide more contacts if needed.
  2. After receiving a denial of claim you may file a claim with OPM using the steps in the paragraph below. The website is: http://www.opm.gov/payclaims/, but all claims need to be mailed in, and send it certified or registered otherwise it has been known to get lost in the mail.
  3. Another step is to pursue 10 USC 1586 if you are returning stateside and have your base apply the USC which basically states you should not lose pay for taking an overseas assignment.
It is my hope we can get this resolved without private legal action but more people need to submit claims to OPM to get this moving along. If only a few of us are complaining then it must not be a big problem, right? So, make your voice heard. File the complaints.

OPM Claim Process

Regulations pertaining to this function are found in CFR 178. Pertinent information in CFR 178 includes:

(a) Content of claims. A claim shall be submitted by the claimant in writing and must be signed by the claimant or by the claimant's representative. While no specific form is required, the request should describe the basis for the claim and state the amount sought. The claim should also include:

  1. The name, address, telephone number, and facsimile machine number, if available, of the claimant;
     
  2. The name, address, telephone number, and facsimile machine number, if available, of the agency employee who denied the claim;
     
  3. A copy of the denial of the claim, issued by the employing agency; and,
     
  4. Any other information, which the claimant believes OPM should consider
Good luck and start filing!

Forrest Carver  
#14 Posted : Saturday, December 10, 2011 4:29:39 AM(UTC)
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Engineer, is this something you really think we can get fixed? What's the statute of limitations? Meaning, how long can you wait? Is this an administrative grievance, or a different kind of complaint. And, what specific reg should I quote, or MSPB/CPMS case numbers can I use?

My NSPS base bay was 55,377 (between GS11 Step 4 and 5; I never had SSR before; I entered the gov as NSPS). With locality, it was $64k and change. 

When I converted, they initially converted me to GS7 on pay retention. On my SF-50, my pay figures were changed so that my base pay said $64k, with none in locality.  Then, 2 weeks later, they promoted me to GS9. They used the total number ($64k) to determine my step, which ended up being GS9 Step 7 on the special rate table. But, my new base pay is GS9 Step 7 base pay, which is ~$49k, so I lost $6k in base pay.

How should I go about getting this fixed? Is there a particular name for the type of complaint I need to file? Also, this conversion took place in May 2011. Am I too late to file a complaint?
Forrest Carver  
#15 Posted : Saturday, December 10, 2011 4:38:43 AM(UTC)
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Any help anyone can share would be really helpful... I feel like it may be too late to grieve to get my position re-classified...

If I was a GS11 equivalent under NSPS, then became a GS7, and was immediately promoted to a GS9 the next pay period, this has set my career back at least 2 years. I've basically got to do a full year as a GS9, then become a GS11 (which I was already!!!), to be eligible for a GS12.

I should note, as of the time of conversion, I already had 11 months TIG as a GS11 equivalent. If we hadn't converted, I would've been eligible for (and was SELECTED for) a GS12 this past summer. This conversion SCREWED me.

As an afterthought, I will make this point. Summer 2012 I'm being converted from GS to AQDEMO, another paybanded project. So, HR has told me I'll get a promotion in June 2012 to GS11 (Step 6 on the special rate table), then that new total will be my total pay when I convert to AQDEMO. That ends up being $69,227. Then, they'll reverse engineer my pay again (16% locality) which will bring my base pay back to $59,668, which is more along the lines of what it should have been.

Should I just let this go? I mean, it is kinda sorta going to get fixed in 6 months. 

The only thing that's still an issue is it still messes me up for eligibility for higher grade jobs. I've already lost out on two GS12 jobs that selected me (applied before conversion) that I had to turn down because the conversion screwed me on TIG.

Would fighting this be retroactive? Would they go back and fix what happened to me so that I'll get this retroactively fixed?
Forrest Carver  
#16 Posted : Saturday, December 10, 2011 5:04:14 AM(UTC)
fcarver

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OK, last question.

Engineer, I read all your info. Here's my question: When I was moved to GS, they considered me in a career ladder position (7/9/11). I'd been in the government for 11 months at the time of conversion to GS. So, since it was less than a full year, I converted to a GS7 (retained pay).

How does retained pay work on the special rate table? Was I supposed to continue getting my original rate of NSPS base pay, then get the SSR added on top of that?
RetirednHappy  
#17 Posted : Saturday, December 10, 2011 5:06:20 AM(UTC)

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Fcarver,  If you were under NSPS, you were NOT a GS-11. You were a YA, or YC or whatever.... When converted back to a GS, it was based on the classification of your official Position Description, duties, responsibilities, etc, NOT a pre-ordained "equivalency". As a current GS-9, your TOTAL pay should be equal to or slightly more than it was under NSPS. (Since you entered government employment under NSPS, you have not lost any pay.)  It sounds like you will also gain overall with a projected promotion this summer and going into the AQ Demo project next year. Consider yourself lucky, put a smile on your face and get on with life. As a newer employee, you have your entire future to work toward. Don't waste time and effort in this past "blip" called NSPS. As a young engineer (pre-NSPS) it took me 8 years to become a GS-12, and that was after starting at an accelerated level due to good academic grades. Stop this "screwed me" talk and focus on being the best, positive employee you can be. Good luck Tongue ! RetirednHappy2011-12-10 13:12:37
Forrest Carver  
#18 Posted : Saturday, December 10, 2011 7:13:44 AM(UTC)
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Hey Retired,

You've got a lot of good points. I'll admit, when I first read your post, I felt rubbed the wrong way, but overall I know you're right. For my age, I make a fine salary, have a nice house, great wife, and arguably the best dog out there :0). 

Just so you know, I don't complain at work, and I work very hard at my job. For what it's worth, in the short time I've been here, I have maxed out both performance appraisals, both of which documented that I'm already performing duties at at least the GS12 level (the last person to do this job was a GS13), and I've been put in for a performance award. So, my management thinks I'm doing a great job, and I like the people I'm working with. They're a great team.

You're right, I took the job at the YA-1 level. I just didn't understand much about federal gov HR at the time, and the whole conversion process, seemed frustrating. The GS15 who is my mentor and my LtCol supervisor also agree that the conversion seemed incorrect. We've been discussing for several months if it broke any regs, and this forum provided good info that I'd never seen before. Still not sure if, at this point, it's worth it to fight it, like you said.

I'm not letting this affect my attitude or productivity. The SES who is my higher level reviewer is the one who directed my performance award for exceptional service. 

My take away from this thread is that, 1) If the conversion really did break 5 CFR paysetting rules, then I am actually getting underpaid by about $10k. That's not me griping, that would actually be a violation of paysetting law under title 5. and 2) My leadership is pushing me to the GS12 level positions, and all agree that I'm already performing at that level. It was them that pointed out that, even in their opinion (both having served 20 years + in the gov) that I am absolutely ready for the job, and pretty much got screwed on a technicality, being 3 weeks short of TIG.

Anyway, if it doesn't get fixed, I'll get over it. I didn't mean to come off as super upset, I just wanted people's opinions. Good to know others are in the same boat, and that they got it fixed. I may discuss what I found out on here with my supervisor, and see if he thinks its worth pursuing.

Thanks again all. And Retired, thanks to you too. You're right that we should all keep our focus on the fact that, in this economy, we're blessed to continue to have jobs.

Sorry for the long post! :)
Trent  
#19 Posted : Saturday, December 10, 2011 9:59:51 AM(UTC)
engineer850

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fcarver,
There are options to correct this misapplication of special pay. Engineers and IT specialists were not supposed to receive permanent pay cuts, and I mean pay cuts, by being placed on a special pay table. If you are on a special pay position now and promote or change to a non-special pay position in the future you will have lost pay because a portion of your original pay was removed, called SSR, and given back and will expire as you advance in your career. 
Your best option is to file a pay and compensation complaint in writing with your agency (Human Resources at Base level) and if you receive a negative reply then press with a pay and compensation claim at OPM with the information I provided earlier in this blog. You have six years to file but it is better to file sooner rather than later. OPM needs more replies from people in our situation so they can be aware of the extent of this problem.
I agree with HappynRetired that we are fortunate to have jobs but if errors have been made, which they have, they should be corrected. 

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