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The Federal Salary Council, which oversees the GS locality pay system, has been reconstituted has with several longtime federal personnel officials among the new members.

The council, which was dormant last year due to a lack of Presidential appointees — as it had been during the first year of the Trump administration — sets policies for comparisons of federal vs. non-federal salaries conducted by the Labor Department which determines the official “pay gap.” Federal employee organizations commonly cite that number—determined in 2020 to be about 23 percent on average; no figure was released last year—in advocating for higher federal pay.

The figures are used in determining the differing raises among localities. The council also sets standards for when a city area should have its own locality designation — providing higher pay rates than the catchall “rest of the U.S.” area — and the standards for adding outlying areas to existing localities.

The Presidential appointees are Stephen Condrey, an HR expert and consultant who headed the council during the Obama administration; Jared Llorens, dean of Louisiana State University’s E. J. Ourso College of Business who has held numerous previous HR-related positions including at OPM; and Janice Lachance, currently a senior official at the Global Outreach at the American Geophysical Union who was OPM director for part of the Clinton administration and who previously was a senior official of the AFGE union. She recently was also appointed to head a separate council that oversees the federal wage grade system.

Federal unions hold the majority of seats on the GS salary council on an ongoing basis. That majority enabled them to hold off ideas raised by Trump administration appointees to fundamentally change how the salary comparisons are conducted (such as including the value of federal benefits in the calculations, based on a premise that federal benefits in areas such as retirement and health insurance on average would be deemed superior, narrowing the reported pay gap).

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