Whites, blacks Orientals and Hispanics at the Bureau of Indian Affairs feat that an upcoming reorganization of their agency will result in demotions or dismissals for many of them.
The problem is that the Interior Department agency must give preference in hiring, promotion and in retaining employes during layoffs to Indians. That was legislated in 1934, but the BIA did not comply to the letter until a few years ago when an Indian employe took BIA to court on the issue.The Supreme Court upheld the law.
The effect of the new adherence to the law is that promotions for non-Indians at BIA are more scarce. Non-Indians have been promoted in some cases but only if they were not in competition with an Indian.
Recently, BIA has begun a series of reorganization studies. With reorganization, it is expected that some employes will be demoted and others will be subject to reduction in force, the nice way the government has of saying you are fired.
Congress has been working on legislation that would grant early retirement (at age 50 with 20 years) to BIA employes being squeezed out because of the Indian preference law. Although there has been little objection to the bill, a bottleneck in Congress might delay the bill until October rather than mid-summer as the legislation now is written. By October, under planned BIA reorganizations, many non-Indian employes already may be out of work.
Rep. Gladys Noon Spellman (D-Md) has written to Interior, expressing concern about a new BIA policy that bars non-Indian workers who may be hit by downgradings or loss of job from even bidding on other vacancies in the agency.
Spellman is asking BIA to delay any reorganization plans that might set up layoffs until after the early-retirement bill is passed. That, she said, would permit non-Indians to retire and would open jobs for Indians and promotion opportunities for Indians in the agency.
Meanwhile, BIA brass are working on a reorganization plan due to be sent to Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus by the end of this month. Insiders say the plan will mean layoffs of non-Indians unless Interior agrees to wait for the early-out legislation for white, black and other non-Indian workers.
BIA stationery continues to carry the statement that its an "Equal Opportunity Employer."
Everybody Loves Reform: President Carter's plan to "reform" the government by making it easier to reward good people and fire some others has gotten generally good reviews from public, press and politicians. But the opposition's act is not together yet.
Administration officials are buoyed by favorable comments received last Thursday as senators and congressmen stood before television cameras to say they favored good government and good management.
But, as reporter Stan Bernard pointed out on WRC-TV, what else could they say? Being against reform, at least now, would be as politically stupid. Bernard noted, as "being against mom and apple pie." Some proreform support may fizzle or disappear when hearings begin next week before the House Post Office-Civil Service committee.
Secretary: The D.C. TRansportation Department has a Grade 5, 6 or 7 level job opening for someone with federal or D.C. status. Call 629-3155. Permanent, Part-time professionals: Civil Service Commission has several Grade 9, 11 or 12 openings for personnel management specialists. Call 632-8438.
Baltimore Jobs: Social Security is looking for Grade 11, 12 or 13 contract specialists. Call 301-594-3744.
West Virginia Job: Treasury has a GS-14 vacancy for a digital computer systems administrator in Martinsburg. Call 304-442-8551.
Environmental Health Letter says that Ruth C. Clusen, president of the League of Women Voters, is a leading candidate for nomination to the President's Council on Environmental Quality. The insider's newsletter on environmental affairs also reports that the Environmental Protection AGency probably will "survive the current Washington madness for reorganization" and maintain its status as an independent agency.