Gov Careers

By Phil Piemonte

Blog archive

Pay to play

You might have seen those stickers on parking meters in certain cities that say: “All may park. All must pay.”

Certain members of Congress have been embracing that premise and calling on federal employees to share the nation’s economic pain by accepting a pay freeze, trimmed benefits, etc.

But now one union has decided to play that game, too, and is asking lawmakers to take a closer look at the salaries of another group — those who work on Uncle Sam’s payroll as contractors.

The American Federation of Government Employees, the largest federal employee union, sent a letter May 12 to the leaders of the Senate Budget Committee that, in addition to asking lawmakers to hold off on a federal pay-freeze extension and workforce cuts, suggested that Congress instead examine the salaries of contractors.

What’s more, the union suggested that all contractors’ salaries should be held to less than $200,000 -- at least the portion of salaries paid by taxpayers.

That ain’t peanuts. But that’s about what the secretary of Defense makes, and AFGE’s premise is that none of the individuals contracted by the Defense Department and other agencies should be reimbursed for more than the top person at that agency makes.

The union put its focus on what it called “the most lavishly compensated contractors” and cited as an example the multimillion-dollar salaries it said were earned by top employees of Booz Allen Hamilton, which the union claimed “could not exist without taxpayer dollars.”

“Insisting that taxpayers should not be forced to reimburse contractors in excess of what is earned by the secretary of Defense, the secretary of State, or any of the other Cabinet secretaries is hardly draconian,” AFGE officials said in the letter.

Comments, anyone?

By the way, as long as we’re on the topic of contracts, you can check out your agency’s contract amounts at FedSpending.org, run by government transparency advocate OMB Watch. Interesting stuff.

Posted by Phil Piemonte on May 13, 2011 at 12:13 PM


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