With 43 days until the midterm elections and five days from the fiscal new year, a 1.9 percent pay raise for white collar feds is looking good. As usual, don’t spend it yet, but the picture is certainly brighter than it was earlier this year.
President Donald Trump announced early on he would not propose a 2019 pay raise because he wanted to set up a performance-based system that would reward and fast-track the best and the brightest. While that sounds great each time a president proposes some version of it, people are reminded of the old saying, “the devil is in the details.” As in, who decides who the best and brightest are?
While the once-dreaded Oct. 1 shutdown appears to have faded away, there is always the chance of an extended year-end shutdown as happened during the Clinton years. Efforts to trim big bucks and benefits from the Federal Employees Retirement System seem to have lost much of their steam.
But a serious proposal to eliminate the special retirement supplement is still out there. The FERS supplement was developed for feds who retire or are forced to retire before they become eligible for Social Security at age 62. The supplement can be worth tens of thousands of dollars to workers, including federal firefighters, law enforcement offices and air traffic controllers who are forced to retire at age 57.
On Monday’s For Your Benefit radio show, expert Tammy Flanagan said that many feds required to take “early” retirement might be forced to get second jobs after leaving the government to stay afloat financially.
There is also the question, which is soon to be answered, of what happens to federal workers and retirees if the House, Senate or both change hands? Would they get a better deal if Democrats controlled Congress, as most unions say? Or, as some critics say, would Democrats take feds for granted?
The three-year pay freeze from 2011-2013 came during the Obama administration, which also introduced “sequestration” and triggered furloughs. That sparked 20 percent pay losses for tens of thousands of workers.
So what’s ahead? Today we’ll talk with folks from the Federal Managers Association about where we are, what needs to happen to secure the pay raise. We’ll also discuss what’s needed to block proposals eliminating future cost of living raises for FERS retirees while charging FERS workers 6 percent more for their reduced benefits.
FMA President Renee Johnson, of the Naval Air Systems Command’s Fleet Readiness Center-East in Cherry Point, North Carolina, has been a fed for 25 years. We’ll also talk with FMA Government and Public Affairs Director Greg Stanford, who covers Capitol Hill.
The carpet in the house of Sid, the villain of the first “Toy Story” film, is the same pattern as the hotel carpet in “The Shining.” The character of Sid was also partially based on a former employee at Pixar studios.