Praise politics unlikely to please federal workers

Proponents of a larger pay raise next year for federal workers are concerned (and they should be) that although they are aiming high, they may they be shooting at some of their own. Their dilemma is that Congress may vote for an increase in federal employee pay and then finance that effort by direc

Proponents of a larger pay raise next year for federal workers are concerned (and they should be) that although they are aiming high, they may they be shooting at some of their own. Their dilemma is that Congress may vote for an increase in federal employee pay and then finance that effort by directing agencies to trim their payrolls. That's not exactly what feds want.~~Supporters of a plan forwarded by federal unions to grant a January 1999 raise averaging about 5.9 percent are trying to convince Congress that economic conditions no longer justify holding down the federal pay raise. They said even a 5.9 percent increase would be less than half of the amount called for next year by federal pay-setting law. But if Congress approves a higher raise and does not grant extra funds to pay for it, agencies would be forced to absorb the cost, which could lead to reductions in force (RIFs), hiring freezes and other job-reduction measures.~~Because this is an election year and the economy is booming, it is quite possible that Congress will vote to increase federal pay by an amount that is more than what the president is proposing, which is a 3.1 percent raise. ~~If the needed funds have not been set aside beforehand, it could be too late in the budget process to pay for the raise any other way except to order agencies to absorb the costs. You can't blame feds for wanting to have their cake and eat it too, but it is certainly unrealistic.~~Federal employee groups should have identified funding sources for a pay raise well in advance, but they did not. Some employee organizations and members of Congress have proposed funding higher raises by reducing spending on government contracting, but budget leaders have shown no interest in that approach.~~Legislation has been introduced in both houses to that effect. H.R. 886 was introduced in the House "to provide for funding for federal employee pay adjustments and comparability payments through reductions in agency spending on service contracts for fiscal year 1998." Similar legislation has been introduced in the Senate. Both bills call for reducing the total amount that would otherwise be available for entering into service contracts with private-sector firms by $5.7 billion and using this money to pay for a federal employee pay raise. Don't hold your breath waiting for this legislation to pass.~~A separate measure introduced in the Senate, S. 1679, would modify the conditions that must be met before alternative pay recommendations could be exercised by the president. Currently, the president can reduce the pay raise that feds are entitled to receive if "severe economic conditions" exist. President Clinton has used this excuse every year.~~The Senate bill defines "severe economic conditions" as the situation when there are two quarters of negative growth in the gross national product during the 12-month period before the date a pay adjustment is scheduled to take effect. This is a rational approach, and no members of Congress would go on the record as saying they were opposed to it, but this legislation is doomed to failure. It will be buried in some committee so that Congress does not have to vote on it.~~It's hard to believe, but this Democratic president is one of the staunchest advocates for "contracting out" I have seen over the years. And of course, this Republican Congress believes that every dollar given to a contractor buys two dollars' worth of government employee work. Never mind the $56 screws and $600 toilet seats the Defense Department regularly buys. Those are "honest mistakes." Right.~~There is virtually no chance that Congress will decide to use part of any expected budget surpluses to finance a federal pay raise. The Congressional Budget Office projects the 1999 and 2000 budgets will be in the black, but congressional leaders are resisting calls to spend that money for any purpose, for fear that allocating money for one program at the expense of another would start World War III. And even if Congress had the stomach to use some of the anticipated budget surplus, can you imagine them deciding to bestow their largess upon feds? I can't. ~~A 3.1 percent pay raise is what the president is recommending, and in all likelihood, that's what feds will get. Either that or a larger pay raise accompanied by RIFs and/or hiring freezes. Pick your poison.~~~~-- Bureaucratus is a retired federal employee who contributes regularly to Federal Computer Week.~~

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.