Letter to the Editor

Milt Zall's column, "Pay parity," made me realize that there may be some within the federal civil service who have lost sight of the fact that there can be no parity between military personnel and federal civil service.

The reason he had a job was because of the military, not as part of it. If you are a federal civil servant working for the Defense Department, you work for the military — not with them. Your job is in support of — not instead of — the military.

If the desire for parity exists, then I suggest that federal civil service grades be paid at the same level as their equal military counterparts.

In addition, because parity is the order of the day, then we will require a mandatory "up or out system," just as the military requires: mandatory retirement at 30 years, or at age 55 if the employee is at GS-11 or less and age 62 for GS-12 and above.

In addition, we will establish a centralized competitive promotion system for GS-7 and above instead of local promotions, the requirement for rotation in duty assignments every three to four years, and retirement pay will be established at the same rate as the military.

I won't even get into the requirement for isolated tours, regular field assignments without temporary duty pay, physical fitness requirements, etc.

Mr. Zall's extremely cynical view of what he feels may be lost by federal civil service workers in a "pay disparity" is a biased view of reality. Military personnel work longer hours for less pay than just about any other profession I know. Having spent 24 years in the military and now working for the private sector, I have a deep appreciation for the "pay disparity" that exists in the military service.

It should be understood that federal civil service is a noble and honorable service and most have dedicated their lives to service to this country. However, it also should be understood that federal civil service cannot continue its legacy without being able to have "parity" with the private sector, not the military. As long as private-sector contractors can be hired to work at less cost to the government and be required to perform or be fired (not so easy in the civil service), then conversion to private contract positions will continue.

There is no parity between the military and federal civil service. The personnel in uniform are your employer and you are the employee.

Name withheld upon request

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