Letters to the editor

Pay Parity Point

I just read Milt Zall's column, "Pay parity," in the April 9 issue of Federal Computer Week, and I take exception to his attitude that federal civilians and military service members are the same and, therefore, deserve pay parity.

When I entered the Army in the 1960s, I remember the draftees in my outfit chiding me whenever I complained about something because, "You asked for this, buddy." By their reasoning, I had no right to complain. And you are using the "all-volunteer force" argument even today to repeat and reinforce that position. The point is that it wasn't — and isn't — true.

His other assumption — that all government is "just business," just another job we go to each day — is also false. As a military officer, I put up with things a federal civilian would never stand for, and I live with situations and conditions a federal civilian could not, and would not, stomach.

The military is not necessarily better than any other group of federal employees; we're just different, despite the best efforts of the Clinton administration to make us into "just another job" through social engineering and political correctness. And we deserve to be paid fairly for that difference, although many in our ranks serve primarily as patriots and would remain in the profession of arms regardless of pay.

You see, Mr. Zall, the primary difference is this: (A) When a federal civilian raises his right hand, he says he is willing to WORK for the government. (B) When a military service member raises his right hand, he says he is willing to DIE for it.

William Church
Chief Warrant Officer Army, Fort Drum, N.Y.

Pay Parity Counterpoint

This is in response to William Church's statement in his letter to the editor on FCW.com: "You see, Mr. Zall, the primary difference is this: (A) When a federal civilian raises his right hand, he says he is willing to WORK for the government. (B) When a military service member raises his right hand, he says he is willing to DIE for it."

As a six-year Navy veteran, I took an oath to "protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic." As a U.S. Postal Service employee, I took the SAME oath. The words "work for the government" are not in the oath. It is the same oath the president, a civilian, takes. Does CWO Church believe that the president is NOT willing to die for the Constitution? The only difference is the risk of dying. I chose that risk voluntarily for six years.

Frankly, I still have that risk. After all, if a terrorist wanted to strike at the government, what safer target is there than a mail carrier? If I'm not mistaken, it was civilians who were the targets of the embassy bombings in Africa and the federal building in Oklahoma City.

C. Mosier
Postal Service

Clearing the Air

I read with interest and agreement Milt Zall's Bureacratus column "Pay parity."

I wish to bring to your attention a blatant case of pay disparity that already exists within the ranks of civil service employees performing the same jobs. This is the civilian air traffic controller as employed by the Federal Aviation Administration as compared to the civilian air traffic controller employed by the Defense Department.

FAA controllers receive 30 percent to 40 percent more in base salary than their DOD counterparts for performing the same job functions within the National Airspace System.

Name withheld upon request

Bureaucratus Blunder

I was flabbergasted when I read Milt Zall's column "Pay parity." His statements are simply asinine. He says, "There's no good reason to treat feds and military personnel differently. Both are volunteer forces. They should be treated alike. Favoring one group over the other is a serious mistake."

Excuse me! There's no good reason to treat feds and the military differently? How about the fact that military personnel put their lives on the line for us daily? Osprey crashes, Blackhawk crashes, etc., killed military personnel. How about the fact that disgruntled and disaffected people are shooting at our military personnel in diverse places such as Kosovo and Iraq.

Yes, federal employees and military personnel are both volunteer forces, but the military faces much harsher conditions. Family housing is in abominable shape. Many families are forced to subsist on food stamps. Constant deployments are straining family relationships and reducing military efficiency. These are all valid reasons feds and military personnel should be treated — and paid — differently.

Mr. Zall claims that he tries "not to be cynical about government operations, but when [he] see[s] such a blunder, it's hard to be anything but cynical."

Mr. Zall, I don't see a blunder — except the blunder in your bombast.

Col. John Kosobucki
Army

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