Connolly Bill Passes Senate and Heads to President's Desk

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Washington, DC, August 6, 2015 | comments
As firefighters battles raging wildfires across a half-dozen western states, the U.S. Senate on Wednesday passed bipartisan legislation authored by Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) to provide the men and women battling those fires with the same career-advancement opportunities available to other federal employees. The bill now goes to the President's desk. Read more.
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As firefighters battles raging wildfires across a half-dozen western states, the U.S. Senate on Wednesday passed bipartisan legislation authored by Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA)  to provide the men and women battling those fires with the same career-advancement opportunities available to other federal employees.  The bill now goes to the President’s desk.

Connolly, Ranking Member of the Oversight Subcommittee on Government Reform, introduced the bill - the Land Management Workforce Flexibility Act (LMWFA), H.R. 1531 – in March with Congressmen Rob Bishop (R-UT) and Don Young (R-AK), the current and former chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, as original cosponsors.

The legislation authorizes federal employees serving under time-limited appointments at land management agencies, such as the temporary seasonal employees of the United States Forest Service, to compete for vacant permanent positions under internal merit promotion procedures at federal agencies, just as any permanent Federal employee is eligible to do today, Connolly said.

The Congressional Budget Office said the legislation is deficit neutral since it does not change the total number of federal jobs available or the salaries paid the federal employees.

“Many federal land management employees, including wildland firefighters, work on a seasonal basis on time-limited appointments as seasonal employees. These employees are terminated each season and often re-hired in subsequent seasons.  Despite years of service, career advancement opportunities are severely limited for these long-term, temporary seasonal workers who are barred from even competing for many vacant permanent positions,”  Congressman Connolly said when the House passed his bill in early July.

“H.R. 1531 is common-sense legislation that removes needless bureaucratic barriers currently preventing some of our experienced temporary employees from competing for permanent seasonal positions,” said Congressman Young. “This legislation would significantly reduce the costs associated with the high attrition rate in our nation’s temporary seasonal workforce, and enhance the pool of highly-qualified applicants that compete for permanent seasonal positions.  It’s truly a win-win situation for our federal land management agencies.”

“Ensuring that our Nation’s hard working temporary seasonal employees may compete to serve the American people on a permanent basis will not only improve government efficiency and effectiveness, but it is simply the right thing to do on behalf of this dedicated workforce,”   Connolly said,.   

The legislation would not adversely impact veterans’ preference.  The bill applies to an individual serving under a temporary appointment or a term appointment at the following agencies of the U.S. Departments of Agriculture or Interior:  Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Bureau of Reclamation.

The bill has the support of a number of organizations including: the International Association of Fire Fighters; the National Federation of Federal Employees; the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers; the National Treasury Employees Union; the National Association of Government Employees; the American Federation of Government Employees; and the Association of National Park Rangers.

List of Organizations Supporting Connolly Bill

  • IAFF – International Association of Firefighters
  • NFFE – National Federation of Federal Employees
  • IFPTE – International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers
  • NTEU – National Treasury Employees Union
  • NAGE – National Association of Government Employees
  • AFGE – American Federation of Government Employees
  • ANPR – Association of National Park Rangers
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