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Bonuses for Government Brass
ABC News Blog
Justin Rood Reports
August 6, 2007

Senior lawmakers want a closer look at bonuses for government bigwigs, after a recent study showed two out of three federal executives were awarded hefty bonuses last year.

"This is beginning to look a lot like Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average," said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D.

Dorgan and Sens. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, and George Voinovich, R-Ohio, have asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to examine the awards, which averaged more than $13,000 per executive.

By comparison, the average bonus for a non-senior executive service government employee was $969 last year, according to a government spokesman.

The bipartisan trio asked GAO to see what safeguards protect the executive bonus award system from "politicization and/or mismanagement."

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) survey, released last month, found that five agencies awarded more than 90 percent of their top executives year-end bonuses. Those were the Departments of Defense, Labor and Housing and Urban Development, the General Services Administration, and OPM, which conducted the survey.

More than 97 percent of OPM senior executives received bonuses last year, averaging $15,442 apiece, according to the office's survey.

The office did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.

This post has been updated.

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