Members of the President's cabinet yesterday were briefed on a major "people-oriented" reorganization of the U.S. bureaucracy. It would change the way Uncle Sam's 2.6 million employees are hired, promoted, paid and fired.
Insiders say the legislative package which still must be approved by President Carter, represents the core of the reorganization he is plannning for government. It deals with the executives who will staff new or revamped agencies, and the method of rewarding the people who make the federal machine run, everyone in government from agency heads to stenographers.
Many of the changes proposed by the Civil Service Commission-Office of Management and Budget task force will require the conssent of Congress. Others, dealing with labor relations and some day-today work rights, can be done administratively.
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Among the proposals:
Nearly 500,000 federal workers in clerical and technical jobs would be put into a new pay system. Their salaries would be linked to the going rate for similar jobs in local private industry. They no longer would be paid a national wage rate like other white collar civil servants.
Create an Executive Management Service (EMS) that would include many of the managers from among the 81,000 Grade 14 through Grade 18 employees who make from $30,000 to $47,500 a year.
A rank-in-man system similar to the military would be the hallmark of the EMS. Members would be required to be more mobile. Salaries would be set individually and chances for promotion or demotion would be greater than in the career civil service. Veterans who entered the EMS would have to give up special rights that give them special preference over nonveterans in layoffs.
Veterans preference that now goes to anyone with satisfactory military service would be reduced, to give either short-term or one-time protection to veterans entering government, or during layoffs or other "adverse actions."
All three of the proposed changes would have to be approved by Congress. In past it has resisted any attempt to water-down veterans preference, and rejected a Nixon administration proposal to create an elite corps of executives who would be under greater control by politicalappointees.
Changes that could be handled administratively or be executive order include:
Delegation of greater authority to agency heads to establish standards and crtieria for hiring some employees into the career service. Agencies now must run through the CSC in most hiring actions a procedure that many political appointees say is cumbersome and prevents them from getting the best people.
Change the current executive order covering labor-management relations in government. Under the proposals, federal unions (now limited to bargaining only in nonwage areas) would be allowed to bargain for unspecified "bread and butter" items. In return, they would be expected to trade-off in some areas, specifically to permit the government to streamline appeals actions that make it tough, and expensive, for agencies to fire or discipline employees.
Federal officials stressed yesterday that there has been on release of the final task force package to the public or the press, and that the briefing at the White House as a "bare bones" outline to give cabinet members the "thrust" of the porposed changes.
Although President Carter can, and probabaly will, make minor changes in the task force report, aides say it appears to be pretty much what he wants to reorganize the "people side" of the government. Most of the proposals in it, they say, came from White House suggestions or are based on positions Carter took during the campaign.
Congressional sources say they expect it will be February at the earliest before the package is sent to Congress.