For the next couple of days, no news is good news if you are one of the 400,000 military or civilian federal workers here counting on a 7.05 per cent October pay raise. If anyone, especially anyone from the White House, mentions federal pay between now and Wednesday, the news probably will be bad.
Insiders expect President Carter to stick with the 7.05 per cent figure that computer to about 6.9 per cent gross for the average employee. They also expect that the increase will go into effect on time and automatically. But, there is a slight chance that Carter could lower the amount without having to ask permission of Congress.
Under the complicated federal-military pay machinery, military personnel and white-collar civil servants are supposed to receive pay raises each October to make their salaries generally comparable with private industry. The Labor Department makes wage surveys each year, and these data are used by presidential advisors for a recommended pay comparability figure.
This year the Civil Service Commission and Office of Management and Budget say that a 7.05 per cent raise is the appropriate amount. If Carter sticks with that estimate, he simply has to issue an executive order and the increases are effective automatically in October. The pay law says the President must go to Congress only if he decides to ignore comparability.
But until someone tests the legality of the pay machinery, comparability is pretty much whatever the President says it is. If he came in with a 5 per cent raise, and called it comparability, the raise would be for 5 per cent. If he proposed different raises for different grades and called that comparability, those increases would become effective automatically.
Through an advisory pay council, federal employee unions have proposed an 8.8 per cent across-the-board October raise.But that is not likely since both Ford and Carter budgets call for a 6.5 per cent pay raise. Each 1 per cent increase in the federal-military payroll adds $500 million a year to the salary price tag.
The President probably will go with 7.05 per cent, forcing agencies to absorb the added, unbudgeted costs themselves.
If the President decides on a drastic step such as a pay freeze, a pay delay or a very small increase, he must say so by Wednesday to give Congress 30 days to consider the alternative. If he decides to go with 7.05 per cent, he probably will not say anything this week.
Staff Accountant: The Federal Trade Commission has a Grade 13 opening. Contact Ms. Djenab in personnel.
Federal Intern Program: The new program designed to bring 250 public management graduates into government each year fulfills a pre-election campaign promise Carter made at Syracuse University. Under the plan, interns will be brought into existing federal jobs at the Grade 9 ($14,097) level for two-year assignments here or the field.
The Civil Service Commission will administer the intern program, which is partially the brainchild of CSC Chairman Alan Campbell. He was dean of the Maxwell Graduate School at Syracuse when Carter announced his intention to create the internships.
Richard A. Pettigrew, presidential assistant for reorganization, is the luncheon speaker Sept. 8 before the National Association of Government Accountants. Call 683-5297 for information.
Engineers and Scientists: The Environmental Protection Agency has openings in Grade 5 through 9 for persons to enforce auto emission regulations. Call Mr. Ackerman at 426-9434.
Edward Moulder is leaving the water resources division after 31 years with the U.S. Geological Survey. Joseph L. Antolik will retire in October after 36 years with Uncle Sam, mostly with the Defense Department.
Be Back In Half An Hour, Boss National Federation of Federal Employees says it is okay to enforce lunch-hour time regulations if the dinner bell also tolls for the chiefs.NFFE President James M. Peirce says his independent union, agrees that everyone should work a full day. But he wants to make sure that any crackdown on lunch-period times also includes upper-grade workers who, he believes, do more than their share of abusing lunch breaks.