This week, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Representative Jon Runyan (NJ-3) sent a joint letter signed by the entire New Jersey delegation to the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The letter expressed concern about the problem of pay disparity for wage grade employees at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JB MDL), and requested the department to correct it. The bipartisan group wrote OPM after learning details of a recent "Statement for the Federal Prevailing Rate Advisory Committee" (FPRAC). According to the statement, instead of following recommendations for implementing immediate corrective actions to the issue of pay disparity, the Office of Personnel Management instead seeks additional years to review it.
In the letter, the delegation noted: "While we appreciate your desire to complete further analysis on the potential impact of the FPRAC changes, we remain concerned about the JB MDL employees who continue to be affected by this pay parity issue and urge you to complete this review process for our constituents in an expeditious manner."
The letter acknowledges the action by the Office of Personal Management to deal with the discrepancy of those employees under the General Schedule pay scale, but it also expresses concern over the issue of pay differences for workers under the Federal Wage System.
"While I give credit to OPM in addressing workers who fall within the General Schedule pay grade, I am nevertheless frustrated for those whose wages have yet to be adjusted," said Runyan. "McGuire, Dix, and Lakehurst were combined in the 2005 BRAC (Base Closure and Realignment Commission), and it is now 2011 -- OPM should have already fixed the problem instead of asking for even more time to study it. The wage disparity at the Joint Base is a problem created by the government, and these workers should not have to wait additional years for government to remedy it. I will continue to work with my colleagues in New Jersey to ensure that civilian wage grade employees at JB MDL are given the same pay for performing the same work."
"Workers should not be paid differently for performing the same work in the same place," said Senator Menendez. "I appreciate that the Administration has partly corrected the problem, but some workers still face a pay disparity. It is time to fix this once and for all because New Jersey families can't afford delay when they are not receiving the compensation they deserve."
Before the 2005 BRAC decision, the current Joint Base MDL was three separate bases, with then Fort Dix and McGuire Air Force Base on one locality pay and Lakehurst on another. When the installations were made into one joint installation, the wage grade pay parity issue was an inadvertent consequence.