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Old 11-29-2010, 02:57 PM   #21
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I think I understand the politics. This is very popular with the public, it would certainly be in the next budget from Congress, Obama figures why let the R's get credit for it when he can get out in front on the issue.

I also think it's good policy. Yes, the direct dollars are small, but if you're going to sell spending cuts and/or tax increases it's good to have some feeling of shared sacrifice. It's hard to do that if the voters believe federal workers are a privileged class.
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Old 11-29-2010, 03:33 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Bimmerbill View Post
It takes 16 years to progress thru all 10 steps of the GS system.
Actually, I believe it takes 18 years. I'm only a GS-11 step 4, and since I just got my step 4 in August, I likely won't get another pay increase before I retire in 2 yrs. My pay is $63000. That doesn't seem like a giant paycheck considering the enormity of the defense contracts I am responsible for. Anybody ever heard of Patriot Missiles or THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Aerial Defense) missile systems? Those are just two of my programs. I am the only Quality Assurance person at my location for the THAAD system with regards to highly complex electronics components. I don't believe I'm overpaid for what I do and my level of responsibility. The crap you hear in the news is just that, crap. The numbers are very distorted. Most feds don't earn anywhere near the salaries that are being spewed.
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Old 11-29-2010, 04:44 PM   #23
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Actually, I believe it takes 18 years. I'm only a GS-11 step 4, and since I just got my step 4 in August, I likely won't get another pay increase before I retire in 2 yrs. My pay is $63000. That doesn't seem like a giant paycheck considering the enormity of the defense contracts I am responsible for. Anybody ever heard of Patriot Missiles or THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Aerial Defense) missile systems? Those are just two of my programs. I am the only Quality Assurance person at my location for the THAAD system with regards to highly complex electronics components. I don't believe I'm overpaid for what I do and my level of responsibility. The crap you hear in the news is just that, crap. The numbers are very distorted. Most feds don't earn anywhere near the salaries that are being spewed.
The buggers also compare all federal salaries to all non-federal salaries. Nothing about equivalent jobs/responsibilities.
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Old 11-29-2010, 04:54 PM   #24
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Of course the folks who do actual work for the Federal Government aren't overpaid. Its the 'policy makers' and appointees that get the real cash and perks.
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Old 11-29-2010, 08:33 PM   #25
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Having worked in both the private sector and then for DOD it did seem to me that most Fed workers are too soft and somewhat isolated from the real world. Too many were quick to complain about minor things and had no appreciation for what they had. Job cuts and salary freezes are common place in the private sector. Once you have worked for a company that has gone through a major cutback in personnel, whether you survived or not, you have a different perspective on work life and what's important. Job security takes on a whole new meaning. That was probably the number one reason I took an engineering job with DOD. It's probably easy for me to say now because I'm retired but I would have no problem accepting a salary freeze if I was still working. It's much better then the alternative which is job cuts. Unfortunately what usually follows salary freezes is job cuts so welcome to the real world.
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Old 11-29-2010, 09:02 PM   #26
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Welcome to my world. As a state employee, not only have we been totally frozen for two years (i.e. - forgone scheduled general wage increase, no seniority increases) but we have been required to take three furlough days per year without pay and pay an extra 3% of our salary for retiree health care. In sum, about a 4.4% pay cut. About 7.5 % cut if you count the foregone raises. Given the status of our state budget, I fear this is only the beginning. It's a good thing I didn't take this job for the money. I am, however, concerned about my young colleagues who are trying to raise families.
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Old 11-29-2010, 09:20 PM   #27
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As a state employee, not only have we been totally frozen for two years (i.e. - forgone scheduled general wage increase, no seniority increases) but we have been required to take three furlough days per year without pay and pay an extra 3% of our salary for retiree health care.
I hate that they give furlough days to people who don't want them. There must be plenty of people who would take extra furlough days so other people wouldn't have to take them. I'd take 50 or more a year if I could.
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Old 11-29-2010, 09:27 PM   #28
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I am happy to take a furlough day, especially since they have generally scheduled them for days when I would otherwise take a vacation day (like the day after Thanksgiving), but then I can afford it. For those who may be living closer to the financial edge, it is a real burden.

I think the idea of having everyone take the days off is that you can close all the state buildings on those days and achieve additional savings that way.
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Old 11-29-2010, 09:36 PM   #29
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I think the idea of having everyone take the days off is that you can close all the state buildings on those days and achieve additional savings that way.
You're right. I had forgetton about that.
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Old 11-29-2010, 09:43 PM   #30
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Most feds don't earn anywhere near the salaries that are being spewed.
There is all kinds of weirdness and inequality going on between federal agencies. When I supervised feds and military people I realized there were a few emotional issues about pay/rank equality (like one agency had first line supervisors at GS14, and other agencies used 13s or even 12s). I had an Army 05 working under the "guidance" of an Air Force E4, and an FBI GS11 running a surveillance staffed by mostly DEA GS13s. (One time we started looking at comparative salaries and that was just a bizarre mess from hell that I decided we would not talk about again.)

I think you could look around the federal system and find examples of people not paid anything close to what they ought to be making, and others who are incredibly overpaid. And they might even be doing very similar jobs just for different agencies.

As I recall, we had several years in which Congress could not/would not pass a budget and there were days that all the feds were "furloughed" for a day or two here and there. The LEOs still came to work because they were mission critical, and everyone eventually got paid for those days, even if they didn't come to work. Uncle Sam seemed to be pretty good about making up for such things.
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Old 11-30-2010, 04:05 AM   #31
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"A few months ago, the Spanish government announced a 5% salary cut for all staff. However, they also cut their own ministerial salaries by 15%, which helped credibility greatly. (Did I read that when Obama took office, he insisted that all White House staff take a 4-year freeze, or am I imagining it?)"
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Old 11-30-2010, 07:04 AM   #32
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At my MegaOrg, we are on a step system. People who don't have one sometimes moan that we get "automatic pay raises". I prefer to say that the going rate for the job is the top of the scale, and they underpay us for the first 14 years. Actually, we just had our intervals doubled, so now it's 28 years.
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Old 11-30-2010, 09:29 AM   #33
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A long, long time ago I was in the military (upon invitation from Uncle Sam), and worked alongside those of the GS rating vs. my E"x" rating, at the time.

Their salary scale was much greater than mine, even though doing basically the same tasks.

The only time I was close to what their scale was when I was getting "shift differential" (e.g. combat pay) for a year in my SEA "vacation".

IMHO, the military deserves whatever they can get (regardless of assumed employer) as far as I'm concerned.

I would agree if they were there other than by choice.
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Old 11-30-2010, 11:21 AM   #34
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"Everybody's overpaid but me."
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Old 11-30-2010, 11:33 AM   #35
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I would agree if they were there other than by choice.
Golly, does your civilian employer make you sign enlistment contracts too? And do they also have their own judicial system to ensure compliance with their requirements?
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Old 11-30-2010, 11:38 AM   #36
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Of course the folks who do actual work for the Federal Government aren't overpaid. Its the 'policy makers' and appointees that get the real cash and perks.
While they may do the "actual work" there is too little actual work to justify there numbers. There is too many of them not earning what they are paid. Pay Freeze one small step, another is to cut number of Federal Employees and cut Contractors.
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Old 11-30-2010, 11:43 AM   #37
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While they may do the "actual work" there is too little actual work to justify there numbers. There is too many of them not earning what they are paid. Pay Freeze one small step, another is to cut number of Federal Employees and cut Contractors.
I'd rather not screw existing Federal employees or engage in mass layoffs, but where feasible I do like the "2 for 3" approach for new hires: For every three federal employees lost through attrition or retirement, hire two replacements. If that creates workloads that lead to excessive attrition, then revisit the situation. If it doesn't significantly increase attrition or the "burn rate," then there were probably too many employees to begin with.
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Old 11-30-2010, 12:17 PM   #38
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The big scam going on since Reagan is to replace federal employees with civilian contractors (usually former Mil & Civ & relatives) which actually costs more money and leaves less oversight.

You think there should be fewer federal employees? Great, let's work on it and see what services you want cut.
You think contracting out the functions to the buddies of congresscritters and laying on several layers of sub-contractors and profits and non-accountability is somehow an improvement?
Do you really want USAF inventory (my career) sub-sub-sub-contracted to someone in Beijing?
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Old 11-30-2010, 12:24 PM   #39
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You think there should be fewer federal employees? Great, let's work on it and see what services you want cut.
Why is that a given? Private sector workforces have been getting slashed for years and trust me, there has been no expectation that less work get done to compensate for it. Why should the expectation be different just because your employer is the federal government and not Megacorp?
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Old 11-30-2010, 12:33 PM   #40
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Why is that a given?
I guess the underlying assumption is that nothing the federal government is now doing could be done more efficiently. I wouldn't enjoy trying to defend that position.
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