Most federal workers who are worried about being downgraded can relax, at least for the next few months - but the key word is "most" and not "all."
Officials expect that downgradings in government will stop, in most cases, until at least early in 1978. Reasons is to give Congress time to act on different "demotion insurance" bills being pushed by the Carter Administration or key members of Congress.
There is little chance Congress will have time to finish work this year on either the Carter bill, which would grant partial relief from reorganization-related domotions, or the Nix bill (for Rep. Robert N.C. Nix), Nix would give lifetime grade and pay guarantees to workers threatened with classification-related demotions, including demotion actions that have take place within the last two years.
Two major agencies - Health, Education and Welfare and houwing and Urban Development - have already been given permission to freeze downgrading actions, if they choose. That doesn't mean HEW and HUD won't be demoting people. It does mean that relatively few will be hit by grade reductions, and those who get it will be the exceptions.
Insiders say a dozen other agencies have already asked the Civil Service Commission for authority to defer demotion actions. They expect all will get the authority, although it may be wrded differently and be for different time periods in each agency.
The White House wants the demotion freeze so that Carter's reorganization can proceed without any footdragging from inside government from employees who see it as a threat to the pay and grade status. Reorganizations - if done properly and for the sake of economy - nearly always result in downgradings for middle grade workers, although sometimes the reorganizers come out higher on the totem ple once the dust settles.
Carter aides charged with overseeing the internal operations of the government are anxious to quiet employee downgrading jitters. They believe the best way to do it - and deliver on Carter's promise that no government worker would get hurt - is to freeze demotions now and provide legislative protection as soon as possible.
The bill by Nix, chairman of the Post Office-Civil Service Committee does not cover reorganization-related demotions. Rather, it provides lifetime job and grade protection to employees hit by no-fault demotions resulting from past classification errors. A merger of the Carter and Nix bills is possible when the committee comes up with a final package in September. It will probably be early 1978 before Congress clears a demotion insurance bill, so the freeze on most demotions will be become standard in government over the next couple of weeks.
Transportation Gripe: Guess who's unhappy about traffic, busses, subways and parking? Some of the troops down at the Department of Transportation, that's who.
Certain DOT aides are worried about the rumor that has DOT raising the cost of parking per mits to force more people to ride public transportation. Obviously those most worried are holdrs of parking passes and permits.
They complain that public transportation to the Transortation Department is lousy, and that DOT ought to get its own house, and parking problems, in order before it tells the rest of us how to do things.
janice K. Mendenhall has taken over the important job as director of administration at General Services Administration. The Grade 17 ($46,423 to start) rating that goes with the job makes her one of the top women in the executive branch and, at 31. she's got to be one of the youngest GS 17s in government.
Earlier, GSA chief Jay Solomon picked veteran Tennesee (he's from Tennessee too) newsperson Rilla Moran Woods to be director of GSA's public affairs office. She's now one of the top women in the federal information field.
Grill the Chairman: Civil Service Commission chairman Alan Campbell is the guest this evening (7:05 p.m. to 8 p.m.) on Joseph McCaffrey's Radio 63 Campbell you can call him during the show at 432-WMAL.
Supervisory Operating Accountant: Federal Trade Commission has a Grade 9 or 11 vacancy. Call 523-5049.
Workers: Compensation Assistants: Labor Department has temporary Grade 5 openings. Applicants must have a rating notice from the PACE exam. Call 523-7546.
Emanual G. Bourlas, of the Computer Systems Command, has been given Army's second highest civilian service award for his supervisory work at Ft. Belvoir.