SOUND OFF: Your Thoughts on the Federal Discretionary & Pay Freeze?

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This topic contains 175 replies, has 81 voices, and was last updated by  Steve Ressler 7 years ago.

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  • #116354

    Candace Riddle
    Participant

    Here is your chance to sound off. Today at 11:35 a.m (EST), President Obama will announce a federal pay freeze for civilian workers. What are your thoughts on this?

    If you’re new to government (i.e. young govie just out of college) how will this affect your decision to stay in government vs. transferring out to the private sector for better pay? Better yet, how will this affect your possible plans to go back to school for more education…or repay your existing student loans?

    If you are looking at a career in federal service…will this change your mind?

    If you’ve been working in federal service for years…what are your thoughts?

    UPDATE –

    President Barack Obama will call for a five-year freeze in non-security, discretionary spending during his State of the Union address tonight, according to a White House official. Read the full story. What do people think?

    It is your turn…..SOUND OFF HERE!

  • #116704

    Steve Ressler
    Keymaster

    Honestly it just seemed inevitable in the current economic times and political conditions. On the good side, this shouldn’t change pay increases related to step increases and grade increases so hard-working feds should still get some pay changes in the next two years based on either step or grade.

    I worry less about the pay freeze and more about the discussion around it which can be demoralizing as often public and media just bashes government employees

  • #116702

    Tim Evans
    Participant

    No surprise; look for furloughs next.

  • #116700

    Peter Sperry
    Participant

    More motivation to work hard and qualify for the next grade in my career latter. Possible additional opportunities for promotion as topped out 15s and SLs head out the door.

  • #116698

    Tamara Saltman
    Participant

    Given how many people I know who have lost their job, or taken large pay cuts, I’m having a hard time getting upset at a federal pay freeze. Sure, I’d like a little more money, but lots of other people need it a lot more.

  • #116696

    Steve Ressler
    Keymaster

    Interesting comment – I wonder if this encourages 15s and SES that can retire to retire…or does it motivate them to stay?

  • #116694

    Candace Riddle
    Participant

    Announcement is streaming live on CNN here

  • #116692

    Joe Flood
    Participant

    This seems like an ax when a scalpel would’ve been a better tool for the job. I worked at a nonprofit which did this and it’s demoralizing for lower-level staff or people who just joined the organization. (I was told during orientation that salaries were frozen – ugh!) GS-15s aren’t going to be troubled by this, they make plenty, but this will be a big hit for people just starting out.

    A better approach would’ve been for agencies to identify high-cost/low-reward activities that could be eliminated. This “one size fits all” approach isn’t what I’d expect from an administration that is all about transforming the way government works.

  • #116690

    Candace Riddle
    Participant

    @Joe – I agree. Its a big hit for lower-level folks who just came on board. I’ve heard that this is aimed at SES’ers, but I’m not sure how.

    @Peter – Getting SES’ers “out the door”…I wonder if anyone did an analysis of a “buy out” per say of top-level SES’ers who are over-due to retire. Would it have saved more to “buy” their retirement, or early retirement, and hire lower paid entry level workers? (My guess is no because of the federal pay scale, and the fact that those moving into the vacant SES position would be due similar pay)…but it is a thought. If anything this method would seem to lend itself to possible room for a new set of eyes and greater innovation in upper-level management. (Then again it could mean a loss of critical information and leadership before the skills have been passed on). Thoughts?

  • #116688

    Peter Sperry
    Participant

    With a 2 year freeze, I think we may see some people who have already established their “Top 3” decide that now is a good time to join the ranks of contract government employees.

    If, as I expect, we see significant numbers of 15-7 to 9s retire and the government can replace them with 14-1 to 4s who have been promoted from 13s; it will be a win/win/win situation for all concerned.

    As for the SES’ers and SL’s (big difference between these two groups); this could be a good time to reevaluate the position to see if a 15 or even a 14 could do the job just as well.

  • #116686

    Paul G. Claeyssens
    Participant

    I am 5 months away from being eligible for retirement; however as an executive officer of an enterprise team (an innovative entrepreneurial approx to gov work) I had planned to stay at least 3+ more years. I value what my agency (USDA FS) and my team (HSG) contribute to the public and society at large. Though I must admit, the constant barrage of fed bashing, ever increasing onerous laptop security measures (that render start-up to take 20-30 mins), and the continued downward delegation of administrative functions to managers and employees, has me wondering if leaving now would be best for all, especially myself.

  • #116684

    Paul G. Claeyssens
    Participant

    I have heard one opinion that it applies to all pay related raises, including step increases, QSIs and the like as well.

  • #116682

    Patt Franc
    Participant

    I’m a retired fed. Sure things are tough, and I’m willing to do my part, but what happened to the Commission’s recommendation to cut Congressional pay. I don’t see this as part of Obama’s announcement, or maybe I’m missing something?

  • #116680

    Steve Ressler
    Keymaster

    I was inspired by a few comments I’ve heard from Govies shrugging off the pay freeze by saying public service isn’t about money so I created this facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Its-Okay-Freeze-My-Pay/167687933271802?v=wall… please check it out if you feel the same way.

  • #116678

    Sonny Hashmi
    Participant

    The state and local governments have been suffering the economic downturn more sharply than the feds. DC has fared better that most of our State and Local peers. Even still, we have been experiencing pay freeze for all non-union employees since FY10 (going on two years and into out third year now). The FY11 budget for the first time puts furloughs on the table.

    Time are tough all around. In my view, the personal sacrifice of a pay freeze will be bearable by the workforce at large so long as there is a definitive date certain and a plan to get back to normalcy (after 2 years? 3? 5?). In DC, the impact has been limited to managers and supervisors only (union employee negotiated increases were not impacted). However, among those who were impacted, I can start to see morale impacts, dissatisfaction and even an interest in looking at the private sector. This is unfortunately since those who will most likely have and take the option to jump to the private sector, will often times be those that will be the biggest loss to government. Most of the affected folks are hanging in there so far, but I suspect if this continues for another year or two for DC, many more will consider leaving.

  • #116676

    Lisa Roper
    Participant

    First our Agency tried outsourcing several times. Now it is downsizing…..some left with no job at all.

    Federal employees are expected to do more and more work with less and less people.

    Now no pay raise. I can’t imagine why the morale is so low……..a little more stress please??????????????

    Federal employees are in between a rock and a hard spot.

    Those not employed by the Government really have no idea what it means to be a Federal Employee. We are dealing with the same problems as the rest of the world…..and WE PAY TAXES TOO…….

    I see this opening the door for all kinds of Federal Employee bashing………

  • #116674

    Mark Hammer
    Participant

    One of the risks whenever such pay freezes are declared is that people will find ways around it, the most common of which is inflation of classification, where a job that ought to be paid at level/grade X gets reclassified to a higher grade in order to either reward employees or attract applicants.

    Such inflation gets riskier the narrower the pay band. If there is a substantial difference between your current pay grade and the next band, both in terms of compensation and responsibilities/job-description, then a freeze can work as intended. If the pay bands are relatively narrow such that it is more plausible to reclassify a job higher, then you can expect grade-inflation as a means to provide higher wages through the back door..

  • #116672

    Mary Kemp
    Participant

    It’s a shame that the solution to the budget deficit is to balance the budget on the back of the federal employee, when discretionary spending only makes up about 10 to 15% of the federal budget. Looks like we are swatting at gnats again.

  • #116670

    Candace Riddle
    Participant

    @ Mark Hammer – You raise a very interesting point. The long-range affects of grade-inflation could wind up costing in terms of dollars, efficency, effectiveness and tallent.

    Personally, I would think that grade-inflation would lead to possible apathy of the federal employee, or perception of apathy, of the federal employee by the public. Not saying that feds are apathetic by any means, but increasing wages without increasing responsibilities, as a means to get around the freeze certainly has the potential to create such an attitude.

  • #116668

    Cheryl Ward
    Participant

    I thought this might happen sooner… Obama froze the pay of his WH staffers when they walked in the door 2 years ago. I am glad he waited to bring this up now, when there may be strong feelings by some about cutting rather than freezing federal pay. Given the mid term election effects, even if our pay had been frozen earlier on, there might still be a run at cutting it. Hopefully this will help keep pay from being reduced outright.

    It is going to be interesting to watch how this affects decisions re: retirement… the advantage of staying longer and having higher figures for your ‘high 3’ is diminished by the pay freeze (but 3 full years at today’s pay is still better than 3 years of pay rates that grew to the current level). But, if you have mortgages and HELOCs to pay, like many govt AND non-govt working Americans do, then reduction to to annuity level pay is not going to cut it…. I guess I am in for another couple of years, despite the freeze.

  • #116666

    Mark Hammer
    Participant

    Well here’s the thing, Candace. It can happen that people already have the increased responsibilities, and all that remains is to formally recognize it.

    We had an episode in Canada that I find very informative in this regard. In the mid-90’s, like public services everywhere, we went through an austerity exercise that involved buyouts, attrition and nonreplacement. Of course, while the workforce was shrunk by a large percentage, the actual work to be done remained, and many people found themselves in an unofficial acting capacity, taking on duties higher than their current classification indicated, without compensation.

    In 1998-99, our public service undertook an exercise to adopt a “universal classification system” in a hope to streamline the fairly complicated job/wage classification system we had at that point, and more or less continue to have. Employees were asked to evaluate their jobs along 14 different dimensions, and jobs with similar ratings clusters were going to be placed into the same category. It promised greater job mobility for many, and possibly higher compensation for some.

    Unfortunately, the discrepancy between what so many employees had taken to be a “normal” part of their job, and what their managers were willing to acknowledge as a de facto part of their job, was large. It became near impossible to achieve consensus regarding what your job actually consisted of, for the purposes of classifying it.

    There will likely be many who presently ARE, or very soon will, take on greater responsibilities, without being compensated for it. Their location within the pay grade, and the operating budget for the year may preclude any compensation. They are not just going to forget that they were imposed upon. When there is finally a little bit of leeway in the budget, or when rules permit, they will show up declaring “Do you realize what I’ve been doing all this time, without being paid for it?”. Alternatively, they will pursue other jobs because they have to move out to move up.

    So, even though wage freezes make eminent sense in so many ways, and even though workforce reduction, and classification-system streamlining can also make eminent sense, one always has to plan around the human tendency to think in terms of “what is fair to ME, on MY terms, and from MY perspective?”.

    Sometimes the most sensible things just blow up in your face.

  • #116664

    Peter Sperry
    Participant

    According to an Associated Press article about the pay freeze proposal, it would not cover Congress, however lawmakers voted last April to freeze the pay of Congressional members with both the House and Senate both voting to forgo an automatic $1,600 annual cost of living increase. Members of Congress currently make $174,000 per year and last saw a pay increase of $4,700 (2.8%) per year at the start of 2009.

    Currently, Members of Congress make slightly LESS than the highest paid SES’ers and considerably less than many special rate federal employees including scientists, doctors and financial analysts at the SEC and FDIC. Chiefs of Staff in a personal office are capped at slightly less than a GS-15 step 6 and Committee Staff Directors are capped at about equal to a mid-level SES’er. Congressional staff salaries go down from there, rapidly. I seriously doubt very many career feds doing comprable work would willingly exchange their current salary for that of a Hill staffer.

  • #116662

    Wendell Black
    Participant

    Step increases and bonuses are not affected.

  • #116660

    AJ Malik
    Participant
  • #116658

    Eric Hackathorn
    Participant

    Where is the “like” button?

  • #116656

    Jeremy B. Woodruff
    Participant

    Four years ago I left the private sector to join a more stable career, and I took a $10,000 paycut as a sacrifice for the stability. I’m almost back to where I was when I left and now this. I understand the Government is in serious trouble and I’m thankful for my job but it’s still a tough pill to swallow, especially after reading Economist’s comments that this is not the answer. I agree with previous comments that the retirement-eligible employees should be “encouraged” to retire. In my brief experience with the government it definitely seems that most are hinderances to progress and do not subscribe to the new “customer-service” environment. Please forgive the stereotype, just my observation. Further, I work in Contracting where recruiting and retention are ongoing, hot-button issues, this will definitely not help with that challenge. I do anticipate furloughs next, as most state governments have already implemented them.

  • #116654

    Alan L. Greenberg
    Participant

    I’m a retiree. We already had a two year COLA freeze. We’ve got to eat, too. Given the state of the economy the freeze comes as no surprise but it is just a career blip for most. My adult children sweat every paycheck, hoping that it won’t be the last for a while. The bigger issue is the usual political slant blaming the federal employee for our economic troubles and implying that all will now be well with the illusion of a savings. I’ve been around too long to believe that. In my book, Confessions of a Government Man I eloquently point out that “there is no adversity so great that someone can’t make a buck out of it.” It happens all the time. The pay freeze and accompanying lack of attractiveness from the best and brightest prospects, combined with people leaving from the top because they’ve peaked their “high threes” will become a bonanza for contractors, temps and people who are unqualified but will be promoted up to the new vacancies. I’ve been through this drill a few times in my career.

    http://www.thegovernmentman.com

  • #116652

    Richard Glen Miller
    Participant

    Let’s face it. Congress will not freeze their pay. In fact, they will increase spending…..for foreign nations, not us.
    Perhaps the President would take a 20% reduction in pay? I think these unaware Congressmen/women and Senators should get an ear full from the millions of US.
    Perhaps the Government Employees Union can get off it’s duff and SUE the government if it spends on yet another “new” program. It’s time to roll back spending to ten years ago. I’m not saying stop the government, just not fund programs that need to go. Gee, I’d like a free cell phone too, but, unfortunately, I’m making a living. Get it? What are your thoughts.

  • #116650

    Steve Ressler
    Keymaster

    Will be interesting if this does cause retirees to retire since of top 3 freeze

  • #116648

    Kay Garth
    Participant

    Tamara,
    I totally agree with you. This won’t change my mind about pursuing my passion within government. I’ll continue to apply for employment and intern programs as normal. The only change I would make is making sure that I fit the qualifications above what they’re asking to possibly position myself to negotiate the higher end of that salary grade.
    Good Post!

  • #116646

    Kay Garth
    Participant

    Lori,
    I respect your opinion but to say that those not employed by government have no idea what it means to be a federal employee is simply not true. As employees of any company the bottom line is how many skills have you acquired and how can you save a company money?..Whether it is going back to school to learn a new skill or managing time well change is constant and if you don’t keep your skills upgraded you’ll be lost. Learning a new task may put you in line for promotion. Trust me the private sector goes through just as much as you do maybe and we still have to work every holiday with a limited time to be sick.

  • #116644

    Kay Garth
    Participant

    Probably all the borrowing the U.S has done in the past. Looks like a great topic to research. Keep us posted.

  • #116642

    Wendell Black
    Participant

    In my opinion, IF furloughs do happen they will affect those at the GS-5/7/9 levels, unless they are in “mission critical” positions.

  • #116640

    Angel Pjela Douglas
    Participant

    This is a welcome move! I am continuously flabbergasted by the media “debate” on federal pay. I am a 20-year+ federal employee, and I am certain that federal employees enjoy considerably higher salaries and better benefits than our fellow citizens. It’s time to share the burden of the economic downturn with everyone else in the country, and this does make a significant contribution to deficit reduction. What’s up with these folks who argue that this freeze won’t really matter? Since when did $6B (much more in the long term) become loose change, as they are saying?

  • #116638

    brian jones
    Participant
  • #116636

    Lindsey L Williams
    Participant

    I am a “Progressive” person, and I’ll continue to pursue my goals within the public sector. I believe that the freeze will be good for everyone if the freeze affects policy makers also. During this proposed freeze we have changes occurring with the Federal Career Intern Program where OPM has 4 months to make adjustments to the program so that it does not violate Title 5, and I also hope the discussion about doing away with KSA’s becomes is formally addressed. I believe there is a more efficient approach to hiring the right talent, with experieince. This may be a perfect time to make necessary adjustments within the hiring and promotion process.

  • #116634

    Lisa Roper
    Participant

    When you take into consideration rising health care costs, falling home values, inflation, and across-the-board pay freeze will decrease the buying power of your paycheck over the next two years, making it harder for federal workers and their families to make ends meet. This is simply unacceptable.
    U.S. Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

  • #116632

    Mary Kemp
    Participant

    Folks, it is time the Federal Employee speaks up. This is just the beginning of taking our benefits away like the private sector. I think it is time to boycott spending at Christmas and show Corporate America that the federal employee is part of the middle class. DON’T SPEND . . . CUT BACK THIS CHRISTMAS. Please show the Republicans and their friends in Corporate America that we will no longer sit here and take it. Don’t buy those big screen TVs, I-phones, I-pads, new clothes, packaged foods, etc. The only way that we are going to get Republicans and Corporate America to listen is to VOTE WITH OUR POCKET BOOK. DON’T SPEND.

  • #116630

    Terri Jones
    Participant

    It does seem like it is inevitable, but I wish that we could do a reverse freeze with lower paid staff perhaps getting raises if they are at the margin. It seems like government has to do its part too in this crisis, but of course, when we freeze salaries, we take a portion of economic stimulus out of the economy since most people spend the raise when they get it. Freezing salaries is a logical political step, but it does have a negative economic impact at a time when we are looking for stimulus.

  • #116628

    Kim
    Participant

    agreed!

  • #116626

    Nell Zeitzmann
    Participant

    And on top of that, in DC, our transit benefit is being cut in half. Good times.

  • #116624

    SteveWonder
    Participant

    Its only fair, but wish Defense, contractors, President and Congress take a paycut as well.

  • #116622

    Judy Kuhn
    Participant

    Many local and state governments have given furloughs to their workers and even layoffs, I’ll settle for a wage freeze if it avoids those options!

  • #116620

    Laila Lienesch
    Participant

    I’d be ok with it if my health insurance premium didn’t keep going up every year. And I mean significantly. Last year it went up 50% and it’s going up another $58.70/bi weekly in 2011! And trust me, the benefits and fighting with getting them to pay is not worth it. If you’re not eligible yet for a step increase, it makes it harder and harder to cope.

  • #116618

    Jerome P. Dion
    Participant

    Okay, so we’re looking for an additional $5 Billion in savings. Why not challenge the Federal workforce to identify $5 Billion in savings instead of a ham-handed pay freeze/cut? I’m sure there are plenty of small changes that would add up to $5 Billion out of a multi-trillion dollar federal budget over two years. In fact, I bet we could find double that — if management would act on our suggestions. Why demotivate when you can empower?

    It is shameful for the President to buy into the demonization of government and the public servants that go to work each day to implement the laws and programs passed by Congress. The notion that Federal workers have been insulated from the effects of this economy is pure and simple balderdash. Just because we continue to have jobs and get paid — like the 90 percent that remain employed in this economy — does not mean that we aren’t helping out unemployed adult children, siblings and other relatives, elderly parents, or struggling with homes underwater, losses in our TSP accounts, and having to extend careers because we can’t afford to retire.

  • #116616

    Roger A Karr
    Participant

    @Lisa: working in Corp America as a Public Safety Professional, take a look around you… Unemployment at all time highs = those who are working are doing the job of many, and happy to do it vs. the consequence.

    take that and lop on the fact that in my particular company, we have not seen raises for over 3 years and in fact, see our insurnace benefit costs per person, go up to the tune of 22% this year, 12% last year and so on. Load on top of that, taking away 401k company contributions, and more so, stock options that have fallen well under water, etc. and I would say, you have no idea what it means to be working in the private sector. Suck it up!

    Taxes, well… I don’t even want to go there!

    oh yea, open the door???? you just did!

  • #116614

    James C. Harmon
    Participant

    At face value, it’s a pay freeze, but for many, it will actually end up being a pay cut when it comes to the bottom line. Health insurance costs will rise each year, and there will be no COLA to offset that, so I will bring home less each year for the next two years. My wife, who worked in the private sector and made about 45% of our household income, lost her job last year, so we were hoping I would get a decent COLA.

  • #116612

    Eric Melton
    Participant

    What I see this doing, unfortunately, is pushing many GSers out, which will require more (more expensive) contractors to do the work, costing more in the end. After we’ve been trying to reduce contractors and increase GS quantities the last couple years (at least here). It’s always a vicious cycle, and the govt costs will still continue to go up.
    I wouldn’t mind it otherwise, if it would really make a difference…

    I’d prefer to see higher taxes (yes, really – like the rest of the world pays), and an exit from Afghanistan.

    I agree with some comments below… time to set sights on the next rank (even moreso than before).

  • #116610

    Marilyn
    Participant

    I don’t mind taking one for the country. I just don’t think there should be exceptions. Congress should take the cuts too and whoever else works in or for the government…

  • #116608

    Paul G. Claeyssens
    Participant

    The beatings will continue until morale improves

  • #116606

    Moki Bluvas
    Participant

    I am a GS-6, and there is no career ladder available in my dicipline. I look forward to my little step increases! Though I argree budget does need to be addressed, and this plan looks as if it will add some money back into the budget. I do wish that I could see the results of this. I am required to do an After Action follow up, to show the higher-ups that my projects have a good and desired out-come. Sooooooo…Presedent Obama, if I give up my step increases, which I am willing to do for this country, ( ahem…temporarily of course :)) I want to see where that money goes, and I want to know it made a difference in somebodies life who really needs it. No I don’t want it to go for a new bomber, though I would like to see better tactical armor for our troops, but that is another vent….

  • #116604

    Sandra Lou Ceballos
    Participant

    If the pay freeze is for gov’t employees, then all gov’t employees should have to endure including congress and the senior officials

  • #116602

    Eugene Grayson
    Participant

    I agree with you Candace. I’m ok with the freeze and I expected it last year but I don’t understand why they don’t try to freeze all costs to include health care costs and i heard that Executive, Judicial and Legistrative pay was not included in the freeze. Let’s see if they will do the right thing.

  • #116600

    Paul G. Claeyssens
    Participant

    I am in the exact same boat, wife lost good upper mgt job, so now we are on one paycheck for the first time in 20 years! So in addition to a 50% family pay cut, we will now see the remaining 50% of federal salary loose ground to increasing health insurance costs. Like I said before, I am all for doing my part, however the big spenders of the federal largese are hardly the 1.9MM federal employees. Far more deeper cuts in defense and entitlements are necessary if we are to ever reduce this deficit. War mongers can’t have the cake and eat it too, we simply cannot afford two unwinable wars, let alone a 3rd or 4th one looming in the Koreas or in Persia. Our defense budget is larger than the top 20 other countries defense budgets combined, feel safer now?

  • #116598

    Tricia Adkins
    Participant

    I doubt it, at least not around here. The people I’ve spoken to aren’t sticking around because of a 2% raise each year. They are afraid to leave because of the economy and scared to be on a “fixed income” in uncertain times. If anything, it may make them feel even more insecure about the economy.

  • #116596

    Martha Przysucha
    Participant

    I’ve yet to see the discussion of a freeze on federal contractors’ inflationary measures in new offeror proposals and contracts through 2012. Together in partnership, in this sacrifice, we can more quickly decrease the budget deficit. If the agency workers are tasked with doing their same level of work for less pay, the federal contractors should be able their complete their same level of work for less contract dollars as well. Federal workers as well as federal contractors all pay federal taxes, but why only freeze the salaries of the federal workers? I think it should be a shared responsibility, a true partnership.

  • #116594

    Sandra Lou Ceballos
    Participant

    I’m retired Army and 30% disabled veteran, and also a former career employee with the gov’t, trying for the past year to return to the civilian workforce, with no luck of course, now the pay freeze which I agree with if its across the board, whats next? Hiring freeze, even for persons with disabilitis, and veterans. The freeze will hurt disabled veterans, and Schedule A’s and I guess it will throw hiring reform out the window.

  • #116592

    Gregory Butera
    Participant

    I am not surprised that the pay freeze was suggested, and considering the pain and suffering that the rest of the country has endured, this is at least a symbolic gesture that many can appreciate. It might be hard on the federal employee, but much less than losing a job or enduring a furlough would have been, as have happened in the private sector and in state and local governments around the country. But I am surprised by how bad at negotiation this administration appears to be. This could have been something offered up at the bargaining table that would enable them to get something back from the GOP leadership in the House, and instead they appear to have wasted this bargaining chit without concession.

  • #116590

    Stephen Peteritas
    Participant

    My concerns with the pay freeze for federal employees is that it will effect recruitment and also it’s always hard to get something undone once it’s done. Let’s face it the deficit isn’t going anywhere so will fed employees still be on the hook for it even when the economy recovers fully?

  • #116588

    Cheryl Ward
    Participant

    Several comments here are looking for Congress to step up and freeze their own pay — according to Peter Sperry on this discussion trail Congress has taken some action to hold down their pay:

    “According to an Associated Press article about the pay freeze proposal, it would not cover Congress, however lawmakers voted last April to freeze the pay of Congressional members with both the House and Senate both voting to forgo an automatic $1,600 annual cost of living increase. Members of Congress currently make $174,000 per year and last saw a pay increase of $4,700 (2.8%) per year at the start of 2009.

    Currently, Members of Congress make slightly LESS than the highest paid SES’ers and considerably less than many special rate federal employees including scientists, doctors and financial analysts at the SEC and FDIC. Chiefs of Staff in a personal office are capped at slightly less than a GS-15 step 6 and Committee Staff Directors are capped at about equal to a mid-level SES’er. Congressional staff salaries go down from there, rapidly. I seriously doubt very many career feds doing comparable work would willingly exchange their current salary for that of a Hill staffer.”

    So, I am feeling that we cannot view ourselves as a totally lone target, although it is true that a freeze on pay is less felt by members of Congress since they make a lot of money on the side from speaking engagements and appearances — big supplements to their salary….

  • #116586

    Caryn Wesner-Early
    Participant

    Identifying specific programs requires time and money. This is cheaper to implement, which, I suppose, is a point in its favor.

  • #116584

    Cindy Conn
    Participant

    I can’t say I was surprised about it. I’m glad it doesn’t affect promotions or steps as I am supposed to be promoted on Jan. 3 with my new job. As long as ALL federal employees (not military though) are affected I’ll be happy. I’m meaning specifically our people in Congress. I read they weren’t affected. How about Obama is his pay frozen too?

  • #116582

    Eric Erickson
    Participant

    I wouldn’t mind if the government were more flexible in its pay. I struggle to repay the student loans that allow me to do my job, so if they were more generous with loan repayment I’d be more satisfied with my current pay.

    They also need to absorb the outrageous costs of health insurance. My premiums have gone up 15% each year for the past two years. The 1% pay raise would be largely used to pay the additional costs of insurance, so it’s really not even a raise at all.

    The arguments over government pay seem to ignore the realities most workers face. If you cannot afford basic housing, transportation and education costs, it’s laughable to call you “overpaid”.

  • #116580

    Cheryl Ward
    Participant

    Aside from the fact that I have expected this freeze on pay, and also expect we’ll see a freeze on hiring, I am stunned, hurt and bothered by the broad public commentary. Many statements made by just-elected members of Congress as well as Wall Street commentators and talk show hosts on TV/Radio, along with general public posts on the White House chat line that accompanied yesterday’s announcement essentially reduce us feds to hunks of flesh hanging off the side of the planet….. comments that imply a worthless workforce and assertions that government can and ought to be run by low-paid people with mediocre competencies really grab my attention.

    Since the arrival of the economic downturn we hear all sorts of complaining about the stimulous, and never-ending fingerpointing about the validity of big dollar government contracts awarded and the manner in which they are administered — does the general public believe that their tax money will be well spent by low paid workers who lack high quality competencies and expertise? Is that the quality of stewardship that Americans really want?

    In general, I am deeply disturbed that, more and more with each passing day, the government workforce and the work we do are both viewed as worthless. Not exactly the kind of perception that makes me want to leap out of bed and get to the office to take on the challenges of the day…

    I had to turn the TV off after watching briefly after work yesterday — I just couldn’t listen to the comments any more.

  • #116578

    Marsha A. Twitty
    Participant

    I emphatically agree! I think that this, in the end, is a wrong step and what would have been better would have been to maybe cut the percentage of raises, bonuses, etc., that Congress votes on. For example, if DC/WVA/MD/VA workers get 4% for cost of living, why not simply reduce that to 2 or 1 percent and keep the rest for the deficit? That way, everyone is happier; at least they’re getting something!

    Furthermore, the problem to me is much more far reaching, in that once this happens during Obama’s term, what’s to stop the next President from doing the same? Also, the problem is more far reaching in that, even if Congress doesn’t pay Federal workers more, if they don’t change their spending habits on useless programs, then it doesn’t matter how much money they get, there will still be a deficit.

  • #116576

    Candace Riddle
    Participant

    @Eric Erickson

    First of all check out the Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Program. It may not help you out now (immediate assistance is generally agency specific) but it should help you out after 10 years or so of public service. I know, I know…ten years. But it is better than the 30 years of payments.

    As for healthcare, I’m right there with you. I work in the non-profit sector supporting state and local procurement officials. I currently do not have health insurance on my 4 year old son because I cannot afford private insurance, and coverage through my employer is even more than private insurance because of our pool.

    As for those pesky student loans…well I’d love to know what Feds have wrapped up in student loans. I’m willing to share…I’ll be finishing an M.A. in Diplomacy this February and I currently have around 75k in Student Loans…

    As for that struggling housing market? Well count most of us recent college grads out of the ranks of qualified purchasers for the next 30 years. My friends, and myself included, cannot qualify for a home loan because our student loans throw our debt/ income ratio way over acceptable limits.

  • #116574

    Mark Hammer
    Participant

    here’s what your colleagues in the British public service are encountering these days: http://www.publicservice.co.uk/news_story.asp?id=14860

  • #116572

    abbah
    Participant

    I agree. In Colorado, state workers have had involuntary furlough days the last two years.

  • #116570

    Eric Erickson
    Participant

    It’s a joke that they want to save $30 billion by freezing staff pay, but spend $4 trillion on tax cuts that largely accrue to the wealthiest people in the world. Where is the joint sacrifice here, and how does Obama expect to balance the budget when he’s putting us in a $3.97 trillion hole?

  • #116568

    Eric Erickson
    Participant

    The Senate just passed a bill expecting Federal workers to do additional food inspections. Less pay, smaller staffs, but still demanding more work.

    Is this the “bricks without straw” strategy?

  • #116566

    Marco Morales
    Participant

    Just as big government continues to look for ways to cut federal spending I’m certain they will scrutinize such other amenities as military and civil service retired pay as another way to effect public statutes in place. I don’t believe there will be any sacred cows in the mix when our lawmakers start turning every stone to see what we can do without. Of course, it is always easier to cut spending by amending or rescinding a public statute like federal retirement rather than look for other cost-cutting alternatives. For example, since 1985, the United States has provided $3 billion in grants annually to Israel. Since 1976, Israel has been the largest annual recipient of U.S. foreign assistance, and is the largest cumulative recipient since World War II. In addition to U.S. assistance, it is estimated that Israel receives about $1 billion annually through philanthropy, an equal amount through short- and long- term commercial loans, and around $1 billion in Israel Bonds proceeds. Starting with fiscal year 1987, Israel annually received $1.2 billion in all grant economic aid and $1.8 billion in all grant military assistance. In 1998, Israel offered to voluntarily reduce its dependence on U.S. economic aid. According to an agreement reached with the Clinton Administration and Congress, the $1.2 billion economic aid package will be reduced by $120 million each year so that it will be phased out in ten years. Half of the annual savings in economic assistance each year ($60 million) will be added to Israel’s military aid package in recognition of its increased security needs. In 2005, Israel received $360 million in economic aid and $2.22 billion in military aid. In 2006, economic aid is scheduled to be reduced to $240 million and military aid will increase to $2.28 billion. Your money (federal income taxes deducted) is spent through Appropriations Bills passed by The U. S. Senate and signed by the President. The Government does not have any money, it takes your money from you and, and borrows more, then spends that! The bailouts of 2008 and 2009 are purely deficit spending. Expect to see enormous deficits in the forseeable future, leading to much more debt. And interest payments on that debt will become the largest item in the federal budget. In 1913, when the Federal Reserve was created with the duty of preserving the dollar, one 20-dollar bill could buy one 20-dollar gold piece. Today, fifty 20-dollar bills are needed to buy one 20-dollar gold piece. Under the Fed’s custody, the U.S. dollar has lost 98 percent of its value. The dollar is the storehouse of our wealth. Has the Fed faithfully safeguarded that storehouse? Was it not Thomas Jefferson who taught us, “In questions of power let us hear no more of trust in men, but bind them down from mischief with the chains of the Constitution”?

  • #116564

    Kay Garth
    Participant

    Cindy,
    I would hope that Obama’s pay isn’t frozen being that he’s carrying the nations burdens on his shoulder. Wow….

  • #116562

    Kay Garth
    Participant

    Great Post!

  • #116560

    Tricia
    Participant

    In my experience? Recruitment will remain the same/consistent as it has been the past couple of years. At the state level – We’ve been in a hiring freeze, pay freeze, furloughed, and our pay reduced (besides the furloughs) with increases in benefits and retirement…people are simply looking for work these days, (not to mention the unemployment rate hasn’t really changed).

    I wouldn’t think it would be too difficult to undo when things improve – they look and increases each year pretty much for federal employees, in a year from now they will address what changes they can afford or not afford.

    A freeze is better than getting your pay cut – as a pay cut means you’re playing salary catch-up much longer.

  • #116558

    Paul G. Claeyssens
    Participant

    Here, here, well put Lindsey! Let’s not collectively sqaunder yet another opportunity to push thru reforms @OPM

  • #116556

    Steve Ressler
    Keymaster

    Totally agree

  • #116554

    Paul G. Claeyssens
    Participant

    I think the pocket book is the only valid voting box left. Buy local, support your local artisans and craft people for gifts and necessities, grow your own food as much as you can, and invest in progressive businesses doing same, hopefully in or near your community. When all is said and done, we are the problem (complancency, worship of real estate equity, allowing corporate boards to run amuk), let’s be the solution now,.

  • #116552

    April E.
    Participant

    At this day and time I would be thankful for having a job. In Florida, state gov’t hasn’t had a raise in at least five years. So, no grumblin…..

  • #116550

    Judy Kuhn
    Participant

    Amen to that!

  • #116548

    +3

  • #116546

    Peter Sperry
    Participant

    The president earns a $400,000 annual salary, along with a $50,000 annual expense account, a $100,000 non-taxable travel account and $19,000 for entertainment. The most recent raise in salary was approved by Congress and President Bill Clinton in 1999 and went into effect in 2001.

    To put this in perspective, the average salary for CEOs at mid sized corporations is about $550,000.

  • #116544

    David Kuehn
    Participant

    I am very happy in my position and can manage financially. I do not work for government because of the pay, benefits, or security. I work for government because I believe in the mission.

    I am concerned, however, that the pay freeze will have an impact on critical government functions. It already is difficult to hire qualified applicants for technical positions in the Washington, DC area. I expect that there are similar difficulties in other areas (Atlanta or Boston perhaps). Candidates can earn more and right now more importantly are finding positions in the private sector. If it were not for employment losses at the state level, where we have found a number of recent good candidates, it would be difficult filling many positions. (Of course the losses in state government still make it harded to accomplish our mission since states are a key partner in program delivery.)

    I understand it is difficult to have a nuanced discussion on goverment pay, but it is important that the public understand that there are vacant technical positions with few qualified candidates, and the vacancies are impacting critical government functions. Like the Partnership for Public Service has created campaigns around high performing government employees, perhaps it is time to a campaign around high profile vacant positions.

  • #116542

    Lisa Roper
    Participant

    I guess the point I was trying to make is the Government makes their employees jump through hoops and stacks of paper work for something as simple as a roll of toilet paper…..wasting time and money.

    We have been making sacrifices in our Agency year after year, for over ten years at least, through downsizing, competitive sourcing and now reorganization.

    You speak of promotions….not any of that around here, or bonuses.

    We get less holidays than any government agency around.

  • #116540

    Candace Riddle
    Participant

    @David Kuehn – You raise a really great point…and idea. It would be great to have a campaign around high profile vacant positions. They key would be finding the funds to support such an effort.

  • #116538

    Roger A Karr
    Participant

    @Lisa – Now that right there is an EXCELLENT point! I live and breath that fact everyday! What I would add is that if this went on in the private sector, there would be no ‘corporate america’… or jobs to drive it… I am curious, what branch/org/agency are you employed?

  • #116536

    Lisa Roper
    Participant

    I work for the Forest Service

  • #116534

    Natia Johnson
    Participant

    I choose not to complain about the pay freeze. I rather have a pay freeze than be told I’m being laid off. I am thankful that I am not a contractor anymore because I don’t have to worry about losing the contract every six or twelve months. Everyone has to sacrifice something. I truly believe this sacrifice or pay freeze is fair.

  • #116532

    Jenyfer Johnson
    Participant

    @Eric – I have to agree with you. When we’re given a 1-2% raise and our health insurance increases by 13% (as it did to me last year), that doesn’t work out to a raise…it works out to a deficit in my paycheck. So freezing my pay and allowing my health insurance to increase will again result in a continuing deficit in my pay…slowly eating away at the money that I have to pay my bills.

    I don’t feel that Obama, Congress or anyone else realizes that this solves nothing! All they are doing is putting MORE people into the same situation that many Americans are already in and that is struggling to make ends meet. That is UNFAIR!!

    This will not cause me to work any less hard on my job, it will not cause me to retire early or quit…I love what I do and I feel my job is vital. But it does make me a little bitter. This “govie bashing” is a bit much sometimes, misplaced and a “bandaid on the dike” so to speak.

  • #116530

    Stephen Peteritas
    Participant

    Check out this cool infographic govlooper Lauren Modeen made last night: https://www.govloop.com/profiles/blogs/gl-infograph-federal-pay it breaks it down pretty well

  • #116528

    Gregory Butera
    Participant

    People on this thread might also be interested in this article –

    “Obama’s pay freeze suffers from two related problems: First, it comes not in the context of shared sacrifice but, instead, in the face of continuing tax cuts that will make our fiscal problems far worse. Second, it feeds widespread – and misguided – public perceptions that federal pay or congressional earmarks or foreign aid or other unpopular items are fueling our budget problems. It is, of course, none of those fiscally trivial items. It is, instead, that we are spending far more for programs and services than we want to pay for…”

    http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Issues/Budget-Impact/2010/12/01/Trivial-Tweaks-to-the-Growing-Deficit-Do-Not-Count.aspx

  • #116526

    Tricia
    Participant

    April – Exactly! I realize that there’s a high number of people here on GovLoop that are federal employees, but they are starting to feel what the rest of us (state/local or even many private sector folks) have been facing these past few years. Most of us are happy to still be working despite having to do 2 jobs, losing pay while the cost of benefits increase, and being furloughed. These are tough times for everyone!

  • #116524

    Susanna McFarland
    Participant

    Greater innovation…wonderful. The suggestion that innovation is age-specific is ludicrous. My experience is that there are a lot of people in USG who need to go, and many of them are also less senior, even junior employees. Employment policies need to change…based on fit/ability/energy/performance…not exaggerated line items on your resume/big name of your uni/who you know.

    A pay freeze/cut is not the mature way to change the stagnant culture of USG management. It needs to be addressed head on.

  • #116522

    Andrew Ian Derksen
    Participant

    Wow, you Feds. I work for the state of Florida, and state workers (outside of the legislature) haven’t had a raise for the last five years. They hadn’t had a raise for the previous twelve before that, so nothing new there. I will tell you that this is a morale killer, and that it encourages bad behavior. When hardworking individuals find that they are not rewarded for their extra efforts and receive the same treatment that slackers do, even the most altruistic of individuals will eventually scale back their participation.

    This is only compounded by inflation, and the rising cost of living. Rent, insurance, gasoline, and groceries all increase in price – and as your compensation has not increased proportionately, you have essentially received a pay cut.

    Worst part of all? Government employees frequently do jobs for which there are no private industries to compete with. You cannot just jump out and go to industry… and for all the claims that industry is more efficient or limber or harder working, I have seen the same proportion of slackers and busy bees that I did in academia and I now see in government.

  • #116520

    Roger A Karr
    Participant

    @Andrew – Good post! I would never say that “industry” is “Harder Working” but I do agree that proportionate # of slackers and busy bees exist[ed]. The difference is, this phenominon has diminished significantly over the past 5 years as industry just fires them or lays them off, a lot easier to do in industry, than in GVT. In GVT, it’s more the FUMU concept. f up, move up.

    For me, it’s lead, follow, or get out of the way!

  • #116518

    Andrew Ian Derksen
    Participant

    Ach, April… I feel your pain. How many heads in your division has new governor Rick Scott asked for to submit their own resignation as part of “putting Florida back to work”?

  • #116516

    Lisa Roper
    Participant

    I agree.

  • #116514

    Steven Springer
    Participant

    I’m a relatively new federal employee…26 months, after 34 years working in the private sector. I took a 25% hit in salary when I accepted this job, and moved to an area where the cost of living is roughly 45% higher than where I lived previously. So I know for a hard, cold fact that many federal employees are not making wages comparable to the private sector, and while the COLA may not be all that big, I don’t enjoy losing it at this point in my career.

  • #116512

    Erin Manor
    Participant

    I feel like doing this is just doing my part while others out there are in much worse situations than we are. Not only are they being furloughed, many are losing their jobs. I will still get my QSIs, step increases and awards. That is a pretty fair deal when all is said and done.

    I agree that those in the higher levels may not be affected as greatly as the lower grades but we all know, we spend what we make. This really does affect all of us…just some more than others.

    I do hope that this does not send the message to those people that we are overpaid and underworked. This is quite to the contrary. I am not complaining about my salary. I would never do that but I am ceratinly not underworked.

  • #116510

    PDW
    Participant

    I’m in state government and our pay has been frozen solid for years! So you feds can join the party… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • #116508

    Erin Manor
    Participant

    My only question is WHY IS THERE SUCH HOSTILITY TOWARD FEDERAL EMPLOYEES? Geez.

  • #116506

    Steven Springer
    Participant

    I think it’s part of the overall bad vibes people are feeling about “government” in general.

  • #116504

    Mary Ann Rosenberry
    Participant

    I work for a state government as a manager and my pay, along with all managers’ pay in this state, has been frozen for over two years. Those employees in our state that are covered under a collective bargaining agreement continue to receive whatever step increments and raises are in their agreement. Although I’ve thought about making the move to Federal, I’m not in a big hurry, but the pay freeze really doesn’t affect that decision. I’m in the midst of going for my Master of Public Administration degree and when I am done with that I know I will need to find a better paying job so that I can pay back the student loans!

  • #116502

    Paul G. Claeyssens
    Participant

    What continues to baffle me’ is despite graft, greed and outright illegal actions & activities, the pvt business sector is somehow immune to bashing in this country. We should ask ourselves why is it easier to bash gov?

  • #116500

    Tracy Kerchkof
    Participant

    My problem isn’t with the pay freeze. I’m from Detroit, half of my family doesn’t have a job, and of those that do have a job, half are making close to minimum wage. I’m grateful for my job, and I’m willing to make sacrifices where they are needed.

    My problem is with politicians using federal employees as a punching bag to get votes. I don’t look kindly on being used in a game of “Who’s more in touch with REAL America?”. I’m frustrated that so much attention is focused on something that will amount to a fraction of a percent of the deficit, but anyone who actually understands the federal budget, who wants to talk about real solutions is at best scoffed at, and for the most part ignored.

    You can’t attract top talent by rubbing the faces of public servants in the dirt whenever its politically convenient, while the hard decisions that might actually make a difference, the problems that smart people actually want to work on, go completely ignored.

  • #116498

    Denise A. Katula
    Participant

    Sorry but this is old news to those of us in local government, especially in states that are in severe fiscal crisis. Many local governments in NJ have frozen pay, enacted furloughs, and laid off employees. My pay was frozen last year, and it’s unknown yet whether that will continue for another year.

    As many of my colleagues say here, we’re happy to still be employed, and honestly a 3% salary increase doesn’t amount to much of a difference in a paycheck anyway (especially in NJ). I’d rather be held at my 2009 pay rate in lieu of being furloughed or having to watch my friends and colleagues be shown the door. That’s awful to watch, plus those of us ‘lucky’ enough to be left behind have to pick up the work load with no additional compensation.

  • #116496

    nancy
    Participant

    I think the general public thinks that all gov employees make high salaries and are unaware of the lower grades 7,5,4, etc. The freeze should have only applied to those making more than $50,000. I know many of us at the lower grades have to work 2 jobs. My step increase this year will not cover the increase in my health insurance premium so I am actually making less money.

  • #116494

    Jenyfer Johnson
    Participant

    Well put Tracy! We’re a convenient scapegoat right now! Too bad someone doesn’t take aim at Congress, lobbyists and bigwigs in corporate america!

  • #116492

    Vickie Whitman
    Participant

    People are reacting as if the pay freeze is taking money away from them. I look at is as something I haven’t received yet. The pay freeze as currently presented will not affect with-in-grade increases, bonuses, or promotions. It will just not be the “automatic” across the board raise people feel entitled to receive every year.

    A lot of what is wrong with our fiscal system is the feeling of entitlement this generation seems to have. The government was not founded to provide financial support to Americans; it’s original purpose was to administer programs for the security of our country while giving the states and individuals the freedom to choose their way of life. If someone wanted to work hard and do well, he was allowed to do so. If they wanted to be lazy and fail; they had the freedom to do so as well; just not at the expense of other taxpayers. I am not suggesting a return to 18th century politics, but I think we need to look at the how the current programs which take so much taxpayer dollars could be more efficiently run. Do not make it easiser and more profitable to collect welfare and disability than to work and provide for yourself and your family. Tough choices need to continue to be made regarding fiscal responsibility.

    I enjoy working for the Federal Government. It allows me to contribute back to my community by providing a public service. The freeze will not cause me to look at early retirement.

  • #116490

    Angel Pjela Douglas
    Participant

    I agree!

  • #116488

    Melissa A Livengood
    Participant

    I have no problem sacrificing some pay to get this country fiscally back on track. However, I think Congress should take a paycut too. I don’t see any of their benefits or pay changing and I have an issue with that. If you are going to make changes like this, you should be an example of that change.

  • #116486

    Eugene Grayson
    Participant

    I think you may be misrepresentating what some of the people are saying. While I agree that there is something wrong with the perception of the entitlement process, i believe people are expressing their concerned for the focus on the Federal employee. I think most are will to do their share but do not apprecaite being the sacrificial lamb, so to speak. There are lots of ways to save money due to waste and the federal workforce and contribute to that effort. These are hard working, bright Americans that enjoy what they do. They continue to do more with less and the public perception of them with our leaders not coming to their defense is sad. Hold your heads up high, federal workfoce and be proud of your service to the taxpayers and our service men and women.

  • #116484

    Vickie Whitman
    Participant

    I would also like to hear the President address cutting pay for Congress. I have always been somewhat confused over why members of Congress are not considered Federal Workers; they represent the Federal Government. It would seem to be more appropriate to start at the top and work their way down. Lead by example not by chaos!

  • #116482

    William Wylie
    Participant

    First, allow me to state that I “get it.” I understand that everyone is going to have to give something up. I understand that some of us will be sacrificing more than others, because “fair” is a four letter word. I also understand that these things will happen whether I like it or not, and that I have a choice… to leave or to stay based on how things develop. Now, please, allow me to state my objections. I have always thought that one of the reasons federal service is compensated as it is, is that the federal government is one of the more restrictive employers when it comes to outside employment and other activities. Agencies have the unilateral right to deny an employee permission to take outside employment as a condition of employment. Further, many federal employees are prohibited from taking outside work, in their chosen career field, during the term of their employment and for as much as five years after separation. Federal agencies may proscribe what an employee may do or say outside the workplace, (when not in a duty status). They may limit or prohibit employees from friendship or association with persons it deems to be inappropriate (security risk, conflict of interest, and etc.) Many of these restrictions do NOT apply to the private sector. Yes, I understand that public service is a “public trust.” The question here, however is that these are (in my opinion) a loss of privilege or right which will now have no counterbalancing offset or benefit. Should not these restrictions be revised, rewritten, or abolished entirely to restore balance to the equation? If we are, indeed, going to base everything on what the private sector does, then federal employees should have the same rights and privileges that employees in the private sector do. This means that the government should LOSE its right to dictate any activity occurring outside duty hours. If a conflict of interest arises DURING duty hours, then by all means pursue it… but requiring feds to be bound by the restrictions described (with no corresponding restrictions in the private sector), while taking away benefits intended to compensate for these restrictions, appears to me to be the first step in rendering service into servitude.

  • #116480

    Angel Pjela Douglas
    Participant

    The bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform has released its recommendation, The Moment of Truth report, at http://www.fiscalcommission.gov/. Congressional paycuts are recommended–along with many other real, do-able actions. This report is worth your time!

  • #116478

    Vickie Whitman
    Participant

    My comments are my own opinion; I did not intend to represent what “others” are saying.

    I have heard the comments from people who are not Federal Employees and their perception that all Federal Employees don’t work hard and goof off. I started working for the Federal Government in 1984 and can honestly say all the agencies I have worked for have dedicated and hardworking individuals. All the money we make is definitely earned. Many go above and beyond with their own resources to ensure the job gets done. One of my supervisors bought office supplies with his own money because of budget freezes. All Americans should be proud – we are in this together as a nation!

  • #116476

    Scott Thomsen
    Participant

    Local governments have already been dealing with this issue for some time.
    Two years ago, the only adjustment available was a COLA.
    Last year, wages for my classification were frozen (no COLA) and we had to take seven unpaid furlough days.
    This year is still to be determined but the effort is underway to reduce the minimum COLA.

    With so many other government agencies taking these kinds of hits, it doesn’t surprise me to see federal agencies sharing some of the pain.

  • #116474

    Eric Melton
    Participant

    On Monday, like most of us here, I thought about this a lot, and eventually convinced myself that a govvie pay freeze is a valid savings, and even though we’re an easy target, maybe we won’t be the only target… okay, it’s fine. We all need to sacrifice, right?… and I’ve never been one to vote for or wish for things that only benefit me – I have the country’s best interests in mind.
    …then Tuesday – the news was all about bipartisan efforts to renew tax cuts for the wealthy (over $250k’ers).
    Somehow I’ve become disgusted since.

  • #116472

    Kenneth Wells
    Participant

    I’m not in favor of this pay freeze. I know we are living in hard times, and we all have to tighten our belts to help get out of this predicament. However, if my pay has to be frozen, why can’t every Representative and Sentator’s pay be frozen? They are also federal workers–although they won’t admit it–and they should also have their salaries frozen. Do you think they will do it? (Select your expletive) no! They all feel they are above the law, and the law that govern the general populace do not apply to them. I propose that the salaries of every member of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches are frozen for the two years my salary is frozen. Let’s compute how much they will contribute to the debt reduction by having their salaries frozen.

  • #116470

    Jenyfer Johnson
    Participant

    Hear, hear!!

  • #116468

    Tricia
    Participant

    Denise – my thoughts too. We’ve gone 2 yrs. with no increase, and last year (and for 2 more years) it’s a cut in pay of 3%, and then we’re also being furloughed 10 days for the next 2 yrs – which equals 5% decrease in pay, with insurance costs going up, and we’re leaving positions unfilled, there’s a hiring freeze and so people have been taking on additional duties the past 2 years.

  • #116466

    William Wylie
    Participant

    I disagree. The discussion on federal compensation has been published, and has perpetuated, several patently false statements about federal employees. Such statements include: “Feds don’t pay taxes”; “Feds don’t pay into social security”; “Feds get a ‘free ride’ on health insurance and retirement”; “Feds aren’t impacted by the downturns in the economy”; and etc. In addition to the patently false statements, made to inflame anger in the general public, we have seen a number of hasty generalizations, (including “feds make twice what the private sector employees make” and “federal compensation is overly generous”), which are based in a partisan political agenda and not in any comprehensive, statistically accurate, and replicable analysis. Couple these fallacies and outright lies with the virulent and vitriolic attacks habitually employed (by our political masters) against federal employees, and one can easily see why the public has such hatred for the Federal service. This hatred exists not withstanding the fact that three out of four people who have contact with government employees have recently rated the service they received as good.

  • #116464

    Tricia
    Participant

    This is also my thoughts. I don’t quite understand why everyone is so shocked. State/city governments have been dealing with this for a few years, as the news has reported. Not to mention high unemployment rates and many private sector industries not offering increases these past few years — I’m not just saying it, it has been all over the news the past few years. The economy isn’t getting any better, and it’s now trickling to Federal gov’t.

  • #116462

    William Wylie
    Participant

    Exactly so!

  • #116460

    William Wylie
    Participant

    That’s easily answered. When your own leadership (as in Congress and the President) lead the charge in thrashing you, then why would you be surprised when the public does so as well?

  • #116458

    Kaye Carney
    Participant

    I was amazed that non-government professionals who follow employment private and public, state that federal employees are paid dis-proportionately more than private sector. In fact average federal employee earnings were quoted as being $84,000-125,000. I stated that appeared very inaccurate, and it is about the pay range of a GS-13 salary…….does anyone know of a valid website reflecting the difference in pay between public and private?

  • #116456

    Lisa Roper
    Participant

    I just did a quick google and the first thing that came up was this from USA Today, August 2010:

    Federal civil servants earned average pay and benefits of $123,049 in 2009 while private workers made $61,051 in total compensation, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The data are the latest available.

    Unbelievable!!!!

    I also found this which makes more sense: http://www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=3992&type=0

    Part of this says:
    Summary and Introduction
    The Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act of 1990 (FEPCA) calls for the pay of most federal white-collar employees to rise gradually to the estimated level of nonfederal pay in their local area (see Box 1). Under the law, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) surveys nonfederal organizations to determine the salaries they pay, and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) uses that information to compare federal and nonfederal salaries and calculate pay raises for federal workers. The federal pay system and those pay comparisons have provoked much controversy. This analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) presents the results of the pay comparisons that it conducted, which show that federal salaries for selected professional and administrative jobs–but not for technical and clerical employment–lag well behind salaries offered by private firms. Those findings reinforce concerns about the federal pay system raised by OPM and others–specifically, that the system allows no variation in pay raises by occupation.

  • #116454

    William Wylie
    Participant

    There really aren’t any valid comparisons out there. I would start with salary.com You should also look at what the government pays for some services on GSA schedule (total cost) per position description per contract. These will give you the best indicators of what the private sector is paying per reported occupation (by locality) and what the private sector thinks the government should pay THEM for providing these services. In my case I make 17% less than a person in a comparable private sector occupation in my area (including benefits) and 38% less than what contractors are telling the government they must pay them to provision similar services under contract (including benefits).

  • #116452

    Mark Hammer
    Participant

    1) When employment elsewhere becomes precarious, the perceived relative security of public sector employment beomes a sore spot with people.

    2) People hate paying taxes, but they especially hate paying taxes when they feel like they get nothing for it; the same way you’d resent spending big bucks for a meal that arrived and was simply unpalatable. Of course, that resentment tends to ignore the many things simply taken for granted, and what goes on behind the scenes. So, yeah, you couldn’t eat the food but a) the decor was nice, the flowers fresh, the floors dishes and cutlery were clean, and there were all sorts of staffattending to you, b) someone shopped for the ingredients, someone prepared that meal, even if poorly, and someone is going to have to scrap your plate and wash your dishes,. All of that is included in the price of your meal, and all of them did honest work and expect to be paid.

    People bitch about government because they feel like they are paying for services they don’t avail themselves of, and have little or no awareness of the many services they DO avail themselves of and what goes on behind the scenes to make that happen. And once you see taxes as a waste, the people whose salaries are paid by those taxes come next.

  • #116450

    Jenyfer Johnson
    Participant

    Obviously they forget that as federal workers…we pay those same taxes that go to pay all of our salaries too! How ironic!

  • #116448

    William Wylie
    Participant

    47% of American households receive some form of federal entitlement.
    That being the case I suspect that the “I don’t get a benefit from government services” falls flat. I continue to suspect it has more with the anti-government vitriol, popularized under the Reagan administration and perpetuated to this day, which has caused this problem. Politicians have made this type of attack acceptable.

  • #116446

    Eric Melton
    Participant

    President Obama.

    …and I believe the President earns his pay.

  • #116444

    Cheryl Ward
    Participant

    New discussion topic: What actions by your agency could offset the pay freeze for you?

    Our agencies, and maybe even OPM, would like to help us deal with the freeze, and would like to avoid having the freeze affect recruitment and workforce retention. What would you like to see our agencies do to help to offset the effects of frozen pay?

  • #116442

    Mark Hammer
    Participant

    And I suspect they make such attacks acceptable because they themselves often have little or no understanding of the immense operational machine required to provide all the services they take for granted. Remember, to get elected you don’t necessarily have to know much about HOW things presently work, or need to work; you just have to know how you’d LIKE them to work, and persuade others of that. A great many elected officials have precious little understanding of “the shop floor” when it comes to the public service. Makes it very easy for them to diss things or leverage ignorance for partisan gains.

  • #116440

    Brandon Jubar
    Participant

    I worked for 17 years in the private sector before becoming a Fed last year. I moved from a very low cost part of the country into the DC area and the locality pay doesn’t quite make up the difference. My agency didn’t pay for my move and I lost a lot of money to sell our house. I wanted to be a public servant, but making the switch from the private sector was going to be a very expensive proposition for me. Step increases, performance bonuses, and COLA ended up being the deciding factors for me because they would make it possible for us to financially recover from the move within a couple of years. I was willing to give up an excellent career at a company that was doing okay weathering the economic storm in order to use my talents to help improve our government… because I was told I would receive these things.

    Regardless of whether it’s “fair” or a “good decision” doesn’t change the way I feel. I made a life-changing decision for me and my family… based upon promises that are about to be broken.

  • #116438

    Jennifer Moore
    Participant

    I think it will definitely affect retention and hiring. Probably not so much the first year, when our expected COLA is something like 1%, but next year when it is supposed to be 3.5%. I dont think there is any provision to reverse this is the economy does improve before two years. how are they getting the statistics that this will save the federal government 60 billion in 10 years? Are they assuming the freeze will stay in place for 10 years?

  • #116436

    Cheryl Ward
    Participant

    This freeze will cut govt costs for PC&B for 2011 Since there would normally have been a COLA for 2012, costs will be less than planned for the second year too. Then in 2013, when there should be a COLA, the level of pay to which that percentage increase will be applied will be significantly lower than if we had received COLAs in 2011 and 2012. So the cost avoidance will continue into the future.

    From an employee perspective, a salary increase (whether COLA, within grade increase, QSI, etc.) is the ‘gift that keeps on giving’…. a one-time cash award is a nice thing to receive, but a pay increase compounds year after year. In this case, freezing pay means that an employee who works 10 years with no freeze will always receive more money than an employee of the same grade/step level who works 10 years but has a pay freeze for two of those years. Though only a two-year freeze, the effects of that freeze will last unto perpetuity.

    Hope this helps to explain how they calculate a $60B savings in 10 years…

  • #116434

    Cheryl Ward
    Participant

    I feel very badly for you, Brandon. I hope your work assignments are meaningful and I hope that you are getting signficant psychic reward for the work you do. That’s what makes it all worthwhile for me, and for most public servants who are here because they want to make a contribution to American society.

  • #116432

    Carol Davison
    Participant

    my commitment to serve the public as a Federal government employee is not affected by pay freezes, cuts, and medical care increases. In fact, as a Department of Commerce employees they may even increase me to work a little harder at getting businesses back to work.

  • #116430

    Janet Richardson
    Participant

    This is a double penalty for mid-grade employees. Our Fed Health benefit exclusion is going away (less take-home pay). Health premiums are increasing. And now the pay freeze.
    It was ironic of President Obama to state that he abolished the incentive awards for the high eschelon employees — we haven’t had one in over three years. I’d like to see them try to subsist on a mid-level employees salary for six months; then they wouldn’t be so quick to put us on the sacrificial alter of “cost savings.”
    It would be more financially beneficial government-wide to start paring out the number of SES/15s.

  • #116428

    Michele Costanza
    Participant

    I also hope that feds who are clients of contractors will be mindful that contractors who work on site don’t make the “rules” for how they are paid. When given the opportunity a lot of contractors choose to become civilian government employees. I have very rarely seen civilians go to the private sector. As an example when the federal buildings closed in D.C. because of the weather contractors lost 4 days of pay or had a limited time to make up those lost 32 hours. And while feds may have on site day care and flex time and telework usually contractors as support to the Feddema as a client are expected to be on site for any additional taskers that come up in an office. I hope everyone contractors and feds alike who work together can be collegial and pleasant and not take their problems out on each other.

  • #116426

    Mary Kemp
    Participant

    I’m going to say it again. Federal, state, and local public employees need to start boycotting shopping in corporate America. I mean STOP BUYING! Show the idiots in Congress and those in the public that support them that we have a lot of buying power. Don’t buy! Vote with your pocket book! I think we have got to show businesses and corporations that the middle class has a lot of buying power and I suspect that most public employees are in this group . . . in fact, I suspect that the government employees whether federal, state, or local make up 60 to 70% of the middle class. It is time to show that you are mad and will no longer take it. One way to do this like Ghandi is vote with your pocketbook . . . boycott small business and corporate america. I have a friend who owns the local McDonalds chain and votes Republican. Everytime I buy something at this store, I am supporting his views. I have chosen to stop buying at his store.

  • #116424

    Michele Costanza
    Participant

    “Feddema” was a typo sent from my Droid. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • #116422

    Michele Costanza
    Participant

    So does the local Burger King chain owner vote Democrat?

  • #116420

    AJ Malik
    Participant
  • #116418

    Ann
    Participant

    Why is the Post Office exempt from this freeze, I don’t mind doing my part but the PO is in financial trouble, the employees are well paid, so why not freeze their pay too?

  • #116416

    Henry Brown
    Participant

    From Information Week

    Bolding is mine:

    Federal investment in cybersecurity will reach $13.3 billion by 2015, driven by a 445% increase in security incidents over the last four years and the shortage of qualified security professionals, according to a report released this week.

    Lets see right hand of the government is crying to hire more QUALIFIED security professionals left hand of the government is saying oh by the way when we hire you will have a 2 year pay freeze.

    All the press I have seen there doesn’t look to be ANY exceptions and there are some “rants” that a Pay Freeze will not be enough, and Furloughs, and pay reductions should be the norm!

  • #116414

    William Wylie
    Participant

    They will not only be hiring these specialists under a freeze, they’ll be looking to hire them during a period when cybersecurity will be increasingly important in the private sector…to preserve a competitive advantage. The net result of making the government exactly like the private sector (when it comes to job security, pay, and benefits) is that the government simply CAN’T compete on other factors (bonuses, profit sharing, stock options, and etc).

    I expect that the same thing will be true for people in my specialty as well. It was hard enough to find qualified personnel to fill positions in my organization (and this is a national security type position). The freeze, the talks of furloughs, RIFS, and pay cuts only makes it worse. The last crop of candidates all refused the offers of employment because they could make more, elsewhere. The net result is that we end up looking to pirate employees from other agencies and they try to steal our best employees away from us.

    The end result will be that we’ll be unable to perform even the inherently governmental functions anymore. We will hire a bunch of contractors (at twice or three times the rate of compensation we would have paid FTE) who will have no loyalty to the government, and who will pay their employees bottom dollar. Thus we will have created a whole NEW avenue for corruption and misconduct (bribery of contract employees) which we won’t be able to control because the FTE simply won’t be there.

  • #116412

    Michele Costanza
    Participant

    So will the government and contractors bring in people from outside the U.S. to find qualified people and will they pass security checks? With so many unemployed Americans why can’t they be trained to fill these positions?

  • #116410

    William Wylie
    Participant

    Contractors will go where they need to go to find the personnel they require at the lowest cost to them. Whether they will pass security (background) checks will be contingent on the type of security check. In the end, though, if a significant number of contract employees CAN’T pass these checks the answer will be to lower the security requirements, not to hire FTE.

  • #116408

    Christina Babkirk
    Participant

    I’ve been working in the federal gov for almost 15 years (including military time). All I have to say about this is: Did you really think that the federal employees, veterans, and the elderly/disabled were not going to be the ones to foot the bill? It is the only funding that is totally controled by government and the easiest to manipulate. Do I like it – no, but I can live with a cost-of-living loss. That won’t make or break me. Can I do anything about it – probably not. I’m more concerned with veterans and those on social security loosing they’re cost-of-living increases.

  • #116406

    ResultsPronto
    Participant

    We all have to do our part… and I think the jury is out on the step increases- yay or nay. The talking heads are batting that around now. One comment I heard on CSPAN was that the pay freeze was a dirty trick, because of the ‘secret steps’ Feds get… the speaker (not a Fed) was appalled and dismayed that the freeze was a rouse because of the steps. Not so, but considering the conditions in the country, understandable. I’ve also heard talk of getting the banks to pay back an equal amount of the bonuses ‘earned’ in the banner year when they were given billions by the government… hmmm. Talk is cheap. What about the hiring freeze? Will this include ANY positions not being open- or will current Feds be able to apply to open positions?

  • #116404

    Andrew Humulock
    Participant

    Gainful employment is hard to come by in todays economy- do what must be done to preserve our country’s sovereignty. Nothing thrives through neglect. If Federal employees pay must be frozen in order to have a positive impact on the deficit so be it. But I ask Congress to do an internal review in finding ways/areas to scale back in their departments.

  • #116402

    Ann
    Participant

    Well said.

  • #116400

    Amanda Parker
    Participant

    As a gov-hopeful graduating with my M.P.P. in May 2011, a Federal pay freeze doesn’t bother me one bit. I understand the financial situation and I understand this is required. While many of my peers say that their student loans may push them into the private sector for at least the first few years, a good number of friends stand by their desire to work in the public sector.

    What does have me unsettled in the impending hiring freeze. To be frank, my first choice in joining the Federal workforce was with the GAO, but after their announcement today I am worried about my chances anywhere in the Federal government…

    “At this time, GAO does not anticipate issuing vacancy announcements in 2011 for entry-level analysts, financial auditors/accountants, computer scientist/information-technology analysts, or health care analysts.”

    IMHO, I think most of us gov-hopefuls have pretty reasonable expectations for a lot of responsibility and some stifled pay for a few years. Mostly, I think we worry that there just won’t be a place for us to start our careers. In that case, there is little option but to turn to the private sector.

  • #116398

    Steve Ressler
    Keymaster

    Following President Obama’s recent proposal for a two-year pay freeze for all civilian federal workers, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced a pay freeze for Department of Energy contractor employees.

    http://www.fedsmith.com/article/2670/department-energy-announces-its-own-pay-freeze.html

  • #116396

    Steve Ressler
    Keymaster
  • #116394

    Steve Ressler
    Keymaster

    Did people see this?

    President Barack Obama will call for a five-year freeze in non-security, discretionary spending during his State of the Union address tonight, according to a White House official. Read the full story.

  • #116392

    Patt Franc
    Participant

    Saw it on WFED and MSN….sounds more like a Fox News report. Guess tonight will tell!

  • #116390

    Bradley Martin
    Participant

    I am currently a State of Georgia employee. I have been employed with the State full time since 2006. I have received one raise in my career (a 1.5% raise). Insurance premiums go up 7%-10% a year and basic inflation is 4%. You can do the math. There is no such things as steps or series with automatic (or virtually automatic) raises for most positions within State of Georgia government. The only way to make more money is to get a part time job or a promotion. I want to be a federal employee, I just think some Federal employees are not familiar enough with the struggles of state and local government employees across the country. No the pay freeze won’t change my mind in trying to become a “fed”. Will a five year spending freeze hurt? Yes of course it will! But most states have been dealing with large budget cuts for several years. Its about time federal employees did their part.

    Brad

  • #116388

    John Evans
    Participant

    Federal employees have been ” doing their part ” all along, as we are underpaid relative to the private sector. IRS is consistently under-funded and under-staffed. It’s probably a good thing the Commissioner has instituted a hiring freeze for the remainder of the fiscal year. Who would want to come aboard an agency that is continually vilified and lied about in the media ? Salaries are lower than the private sector, there are many layers of hidebound management, and the public is generally unappreciative, if not downright hostile. IRS is one of the most efficient tax collecting agencies on Earth, and achieves levels of efficiency most tax collecting authorities can only aspire to, yet we are continually demonized by ignorant politicians and talking heads. A pay freeze only adds insult to injury. Morale will plummet, as will service levels.

  • #116386

    William Wylie
    Participant

    Brad,

    What, exactly, do you think the federal employees’ “part” is? I’m only asking because I’ve heard that phrase a LOT. What position do you intend to apply for? Bear in mind that most agencies aren’t hiring and aren’t going to be hiring because there is a push to cut positions by attrition. This means that the feds will be leaving positions vacant to avoid RIFs if possible.

  • #116384

    Marsha A. Twitty
    Participant

    I agree with your point, Mr. Evans. Also, something to throw into the discussion is: what exactly will Congress have achieved by hiring freezes, and not paying registered voters raises who work for them? What will the President, Senate and the House have achieved by doing so? The answer is clear: not much, because in my humble opinion, every time Congress or anyone “saves money” by doing these measures, the budget doesn’t seem to get any better, and in some cases, it gets worse. What the Powers that Be need to ACTUALLY do is outline a plan to spend the money they already have in better ways rather than taking it out of the employees’ pockets. It doesn’t mean a thing to cut salaries if the people reaping the cash still don’t know what to do with it or how to save it once they’ve got it. Also, some employees will become disgruntled and possibly take harmful actions against Obama and Congress (can anyone say “t….orist”? So, these moves do damage morale, and in the long run, they help NO ONE.

  • #116382

    Ann
    Participant

    It took me years to move up the Federal Career Ladder. I have worked may way up. I have seen many actions from Congress and the government our employer. People in the government should be grateful we have a secure government job. Look at what the state employment situation is, they have not nearly achieved pay scales such as ours. And so many governement employees are two and three paycheck recipients when they are retired military and married to a government spouse. The last response about “t….orist” was surprising, sounds like Fox News reporting.

    Would I have rather not had a pay freeze, absolutely but it isn’t a layoff. We are still working. Lets stop whining and get the job done. There are many citizens out there that still believe we are overpaid and not well thought of. Many citizens would love to take our place and work for the government.

    I’m not going to let this situation damage my morale.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion so good luck to all the employees that feel so victimized. I’m an optimist and this too shall pass.

  • #116380

    Steve Ressler
    Keymaster

    It’ll be interesting to see the budget on Monday. What do people think?

  • #116378

    Steve Ressler
    Keymaster

    Agree – always shocked how much tougher things are at state/local level.

    Love your optimism

  • #116376

    John Evans
    Participant

    Exactly, Marsha. If one were to fire every Federal employee immediately, the ” savings ” would amount to less than 6 % of annual expenditures. Fed-bashing is almost wholly ideological and politically driven, with little or no basis in reality or fact. This concerted assault on public servants is the product of several reactionary think tanks’ distorted and biased ” research “, designed in advance to produce the conclusion desired by the authors. These lies were then distributed via the right wing noise machine. The public, who in most cases has little or no knowledge of the facts, then seizes upon these fables and swallow the lie whole. Here’s a few FACTS : Federal employees did not cause the deficit. Federal employee salaries are a tiny fraction of annual expenditures. Federal employee pensions are less generous than most major corporate pensions. Federal employee unions do not bargain over pay or benefits, and Federal employees are barred by law from striking. The Federal employee pension plan is fully funded and sound.
    The situation with regard to state and local government employees is radically different. Cowardly politicians have refused to make the freely agreed upon contractually required pension plan contributions for years, and they now find themselves in an unsustainable position. These gutless wonders preferred to hand out tax cuts rather than honor the contract they agreed to with their employee unions. Suggesting that Federal employees should suffer because State and local government employee pension plans were underfunded is ignorant, shallow, and ludicrous.

  • #116374

    William Wylie
    Participant

    I think that feds should prepare for a shut down.
    The republicans won’t buy off on the Obama budget, the administration can’t retain credibility and buy off on the teaparty budget, and the Senate will kill any deal not consistent with their own agenda.

  • #116372

    Mary Kemp
    Participant

    Well said, John. William, you are correct also. We should probably all get prepared for another government shut-down; however, I do think the Obama administration may be willing to blink.

  • #116370

    Bradley Martin
    Participant

    States and local agencies have been dealing with furlough for several years (in my state 2 years for my agency and most agencies have been receiving furloughs for 3 years). Again I know most states and local agencies have been leaving vacant positions open to avoid RIFS. At my agency we have been transferring money from our vacancies to utilities to keep the lights on. Most all of our vacancies were taken away. The only way to get them back is to go to the Legislature and ask. State agencies and government agencies all over are under-funded and under-staffed.

    Salaries for some positions are lower in the federal sector in some areas. They are higher in other areas. Law, science, etc. tend to be lower in the federal system while many analysis and clerical positions are higher paid. The average salary for state employees in Georgia is about $38,000. Depending on what federal data you use the average salary is approximately $74,000-$78,000. Also look at how many people are applying for Federal employment. Some of that is due to the economy, but even during normal times lots of people apply to Federal jobs. Applicants are applying for a reason (better salaries, frequent raises, little risk of being fired).

    I’m not trying to demean Federal employees, heck I want to become one because of better opportunities and more money. The Federal employees I have talked to seem to not realize how good they have it. That is what I was trying to come across in my post.

  • #116368

    William Wylie
    Participant

    I keep hearing how people are applying for federal jobs, but my experience has been it just isn’t so. I have had two, high priority, positions in the DC area I have been trying to fill for more than a year and frankly, the applicants just aren’t there. The majority of people (and they are few and far between) who DO apply for a job either: Don’t want to work for the pay (and under the conditions) we are offering. When they see the starting salary and find out that they would be critical essential personnel (meaning that even when the government closes we work) they can’t flee from our offices fast enough; OR the applicants are grossly undereducated, unskilled, and unqualified for the jobs.

    In so far as there being little chance of being fired…why exactly do you think we HAVE these vacancies? We just removed two people. Yes it was time consuming and cumbersome, but federal employees DO get removed from federal employment outside the probationary period. It’s NOT an infrequent occurrence.

    Finally, let’s talk about total compensation: I’m a federal manager with about 25 years of service…17 years of which have been in a management position of one kind or another. I have a bachelors degree, I’m working on my MBA, and I have been certified/credentialled in my career field by a nationally accredited authority. I have a TS-SCI and when I compare experience, education, and clearance requirements (in my career field) I make about fifteen percent less than what I could make in the private sector. I’m not in any rush to leave federal service because I like what I do, it’s important work, while the money isn’t great I don’t NEED more, because I’m a medium sized fish in a small pond (where I work) and because I don’t feel the need to start over again at my age.

    In closing I would caution you against using “averages” when talking about compensation. If I average the income of Bill Gates and fifty homeless people they’d all be billionaires (in theory). The reality is that fifty people would still have a net income of zero while Bill Gates is still worth about $56 billion.

  • #116366

    William Wylie
    Participant

    I would like to throw this out as a corrollary: I have heard a lot about how federal employees are overcompensated and need to do their part…but most of that rhetoric seems to be based in the premise that feds “get things others don’t get.”

    I have to question the whole “I don’t get this, you shouldn’t get it either mentality” that is fueling the anti-fed sentiment. “I get furloughed, so you should too” seems to be one part of the sentiment. Another part seems to be that feds get benefits that the private sector doesn’t want to provide (any longer). I am old enough to remember when a retirement (with a fixed annuity) wasn’t a rarity, it was pretty standard. I can also remember when the private sector offered BETTER benefits as a means to keep the cost of total compensation down. The trade-off was supposed to be that private sector employees would accept lower wages in exchange for higher total compensation. Somehow the benefits went away and wages didn’t increase, in the private sector, so now they’re engaged in a race to the bottom… and the sentiment seems to be that feds should be forced to join in this race.

    Rather than asking feds (who are not compensation leaders- it’s prohibited by law) why they should get the benefits they get, why aren’t people in the private sector asking themselves why they DON’T get these benefits anymore? If it was to protect the jobs they had, well…it seems to me that strategy hasn’t worked out so well, now has it?

  • #116364

    Marsha A. Twitty
    Participant

    I agree completely. It seems that people who complain are those who have mostly a “if I can’t play in the bigger sandbox with the other kids you shouldn’t be allowed to either” mentality. Isn’t the real issue about why private industry employees aren’t getting better pay or benefits, or whatever they should be getting, and you can add the state employees not getting raises either?

    Also, as I pointed out before, the bigger issue should be: how does this benefit the economy, since the economy is based in part on people having money to spend to support it? If the raises in any sector are taken away, people don’t spend money and the economy tanks.

  • #116362

    William Wylie
    Participant

    Indeed it all sounds an awful lot like: “One ship ran into an iceberg, therefore we must steer all ships into icebergs” to me. If you don’t like that analogy then one could say that the current practice is equivalent to burning my house down because your house needs to be rewired.

  • #116360

    William Wylie
    Participant

    I understand what you are trying to say, but I have to take issue with the “other people have it worse”, “at least it’s not a furlough/rif”, “we are not loved so let’s be quiet” mentality.

    Let’s start with the “other people have it worse” philosophy. That’s true in both good times and in bad times. Some have it worse because they made bad choices while others are suffering misfortune through no fault of their own. Either way, it comes down to a question of equity: Should I (and those like me) be precluded from maximizing our income potential in our chosen career fields because others didn’t make the same choices? (Be careful on how you answer this question, because it speaks to a fundamental underpinning of a capitalist economy within a representative democracy.) It just seems to me that the argument is being made that feds should be treated as a separate class of citizen because public service is involved…and that’s absolute rubbish. Either public employees have the same right to maximize their earning potential as the rest of society, or the game is rigged and there’s no reason why ANYONE should follow the rules. This means that society now has a choice: it can pay public employees what they think they are worth, hire someone else (with lesser qualifications at a lower rate) OR do without the services entirely. What is not (and should not be) on the table is the ability to demand BMW type service at Yugo prices. This has been, historically, one of the reasons the government is so costly…we demand higher qualifications and education than an equivalent position in the private sector.

    In regards to the furlough/RIF issue: Don’t kid yourself. That approach is not off the table.

    Finally we come to the question of the federal service not being well beloved. Why is this so? Perhaps we should look to our political masters (Congress) and the 30 year long attack they have made against federal employees? When Ronald Reagan said “government is the problem” it started a long campaign of “friendly fire” from people running for elective office. They have cut resources and increased requirements while sniping at us from the sidelines because it gets them votes. That’s right, the same people who made “hate the government” a byword of their campaign effots are now looking to cut our benefits because we’re NOT well beloved by the public. It’s somewhat akin to my forcing you to work with one hand tied behind your back, (while telling the world how you are less efficient, effective, and motivated than two handed workers), and then PUNISHING you for working with only one hand by saying you should make less money.

  • #116358

    Jenyfer Johnson
    Participant

    Well said, William…thank you, from an old feddie!

  • #116356

    Bradley Martin
    Participant

    Hello Mr. Wylie,

    I’m going to have to “agree to disagree”. I applaud your many years of valuable service, but based on my personal experience working with my particular state agency, everyone who leaves us and goes to the feds for much higher salaries and the sworn officers get a better retirement. I know last year when I applied and was selected as a HHS Emerging Leader Finalist for the Class of 2012, I was looking at a 40 percent pay raise (GS-9 plus add in potential raises to GS-11 and GS-12 I was looking at doubling my salary in about 3 years). Most of the people in my age group (I’m 28) are very interested in Federal employment after seeing the devestation on the economy caused by the private sector (Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, crazy mortgages, etc.). Also most government employees have a “servants’ heart”. Federal employees in administrative, clerical, and entry level positions seems to make more than the private sector. Those such as yourself with many years in management at the federal government level are very underpaid. Especially members of the SES. I feel sorry for those individuals!

    Averages can be misleading, but in my personal experience a GS-9 position (most of the positions I have been applying to) pay signficantly more than what I make. Most of those positions have at least the option of step raises and grade raises. Something our state does not have. Additionally in Georgia, I serve at will. So I can be fired at any time for no cause. Employees hired prior to 1996 are classified and have appeal rights (similar to the Federal competitive service). Also when I talk to Federal HR people, they are swamped with resumes (some good, some bad, and many of which are a waste of time). I can’t speak about your individual agency (Capitol Police) Mr. Wylie. I have applied to several positions in DC and Atlanta. I was selected as a HHS Emerging Leader Finalist for the Class of 2012. I have applied for several positions including management analyst, secretary, administrative specialist, policy coordinator, and many other positions.

    What do you think about Law Enforcement Accreditation through the Commission on the Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) and how has it impacted the Capitol Police? Our agency has been CALEA Accredited since 1998. I serve as the Accreditation Manager for my agency.

    To all the federal employees out there, I honor your service, and I hope to join you one day. Do not take my criticisms to heart. I am only making observations based upon my personal experiences. I will also agree with Mr. Wylie’s observations I don’t doubt that I have a spirit of envy.

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