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

About the Author

John Monroe is Senior Events Editor for the 1105 Public Sector Media Group, where he is responsible for overseeing the development of content for print and online content, as well as events. John has more than 20 years of experience covering the information technology field. Most recently he served as Editor-in-Chief of Federal Computer Week. Previously, he served as editor of three sister publications: civic.com, which covered the state and local government IT market, Government Health IT, and Defense Systems.

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