Feds: No joy in being the national punching bag

Federal employees aren't feeling the love.

First, President Barack Obama announced a two-year pay freeze — and had to fight efforts to make it five years. Then some members of Congress, looking for even more cuts, proposed two-week furloughs for federal employees and a 10 percent cut in the federal workforce. Somewhere along the way, the federal workforce had become the nation’s favorite political punching bag.

And then the federal government nearly shut down. It was bad enough that feds spent weeks wondering if they would be getting their next paycheck while Democrats and Republicans bickered over the fiscal 2011 spending bill. But they also had to endure hearing numerous politicians and commentators question the impact of the shutdown: How would anyone tell if federal employees had stopped working?

Here is a roundup of recent reader comments about the abuse they have been taking. Comments have been edited for length, clarity and style.

Check that ROI
You get what you pay for. Do you want highly qualified people running the federal government, or do you want someone with the mentality and motivation of a burger-flipper taking care of Social Security, your VA benefits or homeland security? The politicians are all about feel good measures that do nothing but make them shine in the eyes of the gullible voter.
— Mid-West

Evidence has shown over the years that when compared to larger corporations, federal workers are underpaid. You get what you pay for. Watch for a future of federal workers with 20 or less years [moving] away from the federal workplace because of lack of pay. The turnover rate will dramatically increase with this sort of initiative being passed. Mark my words, it will happen.
— Fed Worker

Pony up
Lawmakers are quick to ensure that the federal workers [make sacrifices] to help the economy, but I don't see them doing their part. It makes it seem [as though] they don't actually care about the American people who are affected by these regulations and ideas because it does not affect their wallets.
— Anonymous

Here’s an idea
Downsize the government by eliminating management in each agency and retain only the workers who are actually doing the work for the taxpayers. For example, picture one employee working under several managers whose positions are director, deputy director, assistant deputy director, manager, assistant manager, supervisor, assistant supervisor and so on down the chain of command.
— Perly Lacuesta

Thanks, but no thanks
I really want to serve [in the public sector]. I have 15 years of previous state and local government experience on top of my private-sector experience, but I refuse to be a punching bag for the politicians while my family suffers. Take note, new feds: Your elected officials don't care about you. If you can do better for yourself on the outside, go for it. I'm happy I did.
— IT Sec

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

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Reader comments

Wed, Jul 20, 2011

In my many years of federal service, I must say most of the federal employees aren't too concerned about saving taxpayer money. I don't know how these folks sleep at night. I've only stayed because I've passionately worked to cut the waste, but it is clear to me that most aren't really interested. I'm leaving this sham of "service" as soon as I can.

Fri, Apr 29, 2011

If the Prez tried to dictate universal price freezes on goods and services we'd see long waiting lines for everything like we did when Nixon froze the cost of gas. Look at the NYC price controls over housing (hint: you can't get any protected housing without special contacts). If you put aside the question about legal authority, you still must face the reality that a gallon of gas might be $1 but no one would have a gallon of it for sale.

Fri, Apr 22, 2011

If federal pay is frozen until 2014 or 2015, you can count me as one of the ones that will be leaving for a company in the private sector that appreciates its employees. Way to lose all of your skilled workforce, Congress.

Thu, Apr 21, 2011 RayW

I admit it, I am overpaid.....compared to my co-workers who started in the gov at the same time I started in a real life job. 18 years of real life put me at the top of the GS scale when I entered the GS world while the other folks were, on the average, less than half way up it. NSPS then pushed me over the top of the scale, so I will not be getting any pay increases to compensate for the inflation going on for the 5 or 8 years I have left. Hmmm.....no incentive to work now between the president, congress, and the pay system, maybe bonuses will stay......

Thu, Apr 21, 2011

Federal employees are just "low hanging fruit" to the politicians and liberal press. The Federal employee knows they will never be rich, but the work we do enrichens our lives. Our salaries are nothing compared to the unfathomable sums Congress authorizes to be spent each year. Fact is we are taken for granted byt the politicos, and our professional administrators cannot fight the ploitical battles, for fear of retribution.

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