Feds to Congress: Don't tread on us!

Let’s face it: This is not a good time to be a federal worker. Although Democrats and Republicans see eye to eye on little else, they readily agree that the federal payroll is an easy source of budget cuts. With a pay freeze already in place, Congress is now mulling the idea of furloughs and staff reductions.

As might be expected, feds are not necessarily buying into that strategy. Many readers have written to say they have no problem with one measure or another, given the dire state of the economy. But at some point, it begins to feel like lawmakers are just piling on, they say.

Here is a sampling of what they had to say. Comments have been edited for length, style and clarity.

It is becoming a popular political tactic to take shots at government workers. I don't mind doing my part either, but where does it end? Pay freezes, furloughs, reduced benefits, reductions in force, media bashing, etc. When the economy recovers, in the end, this will be an organization that no one wants to make as a career.
— Troy

In this age of expanded teleworking, what manager is not going to expect people to work from home even when furloughed? If I get furloughed, I am going to drop the BlackBerry on the boss' desk on my way out.
— Anonymous

Many federal employees are on tight budgets. The freeze means we will take home less money this year because of increased costs, so you can term the pay freeze as a pay cut. On top of that, a two-week furlough? And when federal employees can't pay their bills and their credit ratings get hit and their security clearances get revoked and they lose their jobs…tell me, how will this help the economy?
— Anonymous

As a federal employee, I really don't mind doing my part. I just hope that it is not 10 consecutive days but spread out over the 26 pay periods. Of course, I also think the government — minus essential staff — should close the day after Thanksgiving. That would also save huge money without much impact to productivity. Maybe that could be a furlough day for everyone.
— Anonymous

Reducing federal salaries by furlough will cause greater hardship on an already [damaged] economy. Many federal employees support others who have lost their jobs or who are underemployed. The congressman should be a bit more original in his approach. How about asking for volunteers?
— Jinx

Congress should put the government on a two-year continuing resolution and furlough themselves for two years. The logic of a policy that needlessly causes American citizens economic hardship — yes, federal employees are citizens and do have hardships — just because others have been unfortunate is simply political theater.
— Anonymous

If we outsource the Senate and the House, we the taxpayers can save the cost of their benefits and retirement. We can also terminate them at any time for Government Convenience.
— Anonymous

About the Author

John S. Monroe is the editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week.

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Reader comments

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 JW Louisville, KY

As a Title 5 GS employee facing a two year pay freeze, I am willing to do my part to help cut costs. My only question, is why ALL federal employees are not subject to the same freeze from the President on down?

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