President Ford will have at least one more session with congressional leaders before he settles on the final numbers in his upcoming legislative-judicial-executive pay raise proposal.
The recommendations involve pay raises for members of Congress, U.S. judges, political appointees and more than 20,000 top career civilian and military aides. They are to go to Congress on Jan. 17. That is just three days before Mr. Ford's term expires and the salaries he recommends would - subject to a congressional veto - go into effect in February or early March. They would primarily benefit the new Democratic-dominated Congress, and political appointees President-elect Carter will name.
Carter administration aides are hoping Mr. Ford will recommend substantial boosts. But to avoid getting into political hot water even before they are in office, they plan to remain silent on the top-pay question.
Under a proposal given Mr. Ford by a blue ribbon panel last month, top officials from the Vice President on down to the lowest level political appointees (roughly equal to Grade 18 rank in the career civil service) would get raises of from 20 per cent to 40 per cent. Grade 18, under that panel's plan, would go from $39,600 to $49,000.
The effect of increases that size - and Mr. Ford has not decided on exact amounts yet - would be to give career federal workers in Grades 15 through 18 increases ranging from $945 to $9,400 a year.
The panel that proposed those increases - chaired by former Commerce Secretary Peter Peterson - said it was making the recommendations with the condition that Congress indicate that it would impose a strict new code of conduct on itself.
That is why President Ford needs to touch base again with House Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill (D-Mass.) and other leaders. He wants to include some language about congressional reform in his budget message.
By law, Congress will have 30 days after Mr. Ford makes the pay recommendation to veto it, or it automatically goes into effect. Object of that plan obviously was to make it as painless as possible for members of Congress to "allow" themselves to get pay raises.
There will be moves in Congress to separate congressional pay from the other increases and force either the House or Senate to vote the issue up or down. But the Democratic leaderhip, with the backing of President-elect Carter, ought to be able to block anything like that again if Carter signals that he wants the raises to go through.
Unearthly Honor: Smithsonian Institution's Donald Menzel has been given an out-of-this world award. A minor planet formerly known as 1905 RY has been renamed "Asteroid (1967) Menzel" for the scientist, one of the few people in or out of government to have a heavenly body named after him.
Agriculture Department: The Economic Research Service, with 885 workers, will begin a set-your-own-hours experimental program in February. Other agencies planning "flexitime" tests include Patent Office and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Disability Pay: Many ex-federal workers retired on disability will lose the $100 a week federal income tax break they've enjoyed for many years under the new tax reform act. IRS - as pointed out here Dec. 27 - has issued new temporary guidelines that retirees ought to study before making out their 1976 income tax forms. The guidelines were published in the Federal Register on Dec. 29, Page 56630. The Register is available at the Government Printing Office and most GPO bookstores.
Editor Openings: General Accounting Office has two Grade 5 jobs for persons with civil service status and English and/or editing backgrounds. Call 275-6092.
Beltsville Jobs: Agriculture needs a Grade 3 or 4 clerk steno. Call 344-2820.
Joseph H. Friedmann, Army Computer Systems Command's super-professional press chief, has retired.
Sunshine Act: Federal Bar Association will have a half-day seminar Jan. 11 on the new law that goes into effect on March 5 requiring many federal agencies and bodies to open their meetings and deliberative sessions to the public. Details on the session from FBA at 638-0252.