Pay Raises & the F-Word

First the good news then the even better news.

The good news is that the government-wide shutdown predicted by the prophets of doom didn’t happen. Those thousands of feds in agencies across the government will remain on the payroll. Defense isn’t going to have to trim its staff because Congress failed to approve its budget.

Many feds (the average person has almost 20 years on the job) have been through this before. They have been threatened with the F (for “furlough”) word before. Some old-timers have gone through a furlough or two, or three, and lived to tell the tale. And not lost money.

The furlough threat is used all the time when one political party controls the White House and another runs the Congress. It happened during the Reagan years, the Clinton years and it happened again last year. But it’s important for feds to understand how the game is played and what happens when the threat of a furlough or shutdown becomes a reality. For the history of furloughs and shutdowns click here because the same thing might happen again next year.

But Wait! There’s More!

Now for the second bit of good news. President Bush has signed into law legislation that boosts the January, 2008 white collar federal pay raise from the 3 percent he proposed to the 3.5 percent figure Congress imposed.

That will mean bigger raises for most feds. White collar civil servants in the Washington-Baltimore area (the largest concentration of government employees) will wind up with a total national-locality raise worth 4.49 percent according to Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).

One-upping the President on the federal pay issue is pretty much SOP (standard operating procedure.) Congress did an end run around President Clinton each year and improved the pay raises he proposed. It did the same thing, with the exception of one year, with President Bush. And it’s done it again.

OPM, as we tipped you, has posted temporary pay tables showing what the raises would be, on a city-by-city basis, based on the President’s 3 percent pay plan. But now that the raise has been set at 3.5 percent new tables are coming. All that’s needed is for the president to issue an executive order. That could happen any time. And it will happen.

Meantime, here’s a sneak preview of what your pay raise might look like when the 3.5 percent is applied and computed to take locality pay into account. Check it out by clicking here.

Today’s Nearly Useless Factoid

A study funded by Clorox found that an average office desk has 400 times more bacteria than the average office toilet. This tells me I should be glad I’m not in the average office. Not to mention the average toilet.

To reach me: