If you dislike being put on the telephone "hold" in the midst of the doctor's explanation about your latest X-ray pictures, imagine what it is like for 39 Marine Corps civilians given five months to sweat out their jobs.
For the nervous headquarters staffers, this promises to be a particularly long, hot and anxious summer. And spring. And fall.
All the workers have been put on a potential "hit list," which means that their jobs may be abolished sometime between now and the end of October. It is the sort of don't-call-us-we'll-call-you exercise that nobody relishes.
Although Marine Corps officials hope the reorganization they are planning can be "phased" so that a minimum number of lives will be disrupted, they thought it advisable to alert people who may be hit with layoffs, demotions or reassignments. It is a nice thought. But it also is a little like offering a cigarette to someone hanging onto the windowledge of a 40-story building.
The unlucky 39 people on the hit list have been told that they will be notified at least 30 days before anything happens. The last paragraph reads:
"This general notice expires on 27 October 1978. If we have not given you specific information about the action to be taken or if we have not extended the expiration date on or before 27 October 1978, this notice will have expired and you may disregard it ." Meantime everybody involved have a nice summer.
Postal Money Talks: Postal union leaders have no plans to lighten up their contract demands to the U.S. Postal Service until they see a major turnaround in prices and the cost-of-living. AFL-CIO chiefs met with the president and top aides yesterday on the problem of inflation. The administration is asking organized labor to "go easy" this year, to help put an end to the wage-price spiral.
Union leaders were polite and cooperative. But they have not lowered their sights on a better contract for the 600,000 postal workers, and will not until, as one union leader said, "the White House does something positive about prices and profits, and not just wages."
Monumental Threat: Carter administration aides have had some bad encounters on Capitol Hill as they try to eliminate advisory committees and commissions. One of the President's campaign promiss was to whittle back the number of those committees and commissions.
Recently, a staffer from the Office of Management and Budget went to visit a senator to suggest that perhaps the nation could get along without the services of the venerable American Battle Monuments Commission. OMB Director James T. McIntyre Jr. describes it as a body created to "give an opportunity for people on the commission to travel around the world at government expense."
"My associate asked the senator for some support in an effort to eliminate the Battle Monuments Commission," McIntyre said. The OMB chief said the senator listened to the ban-the-commission pitch "politely" and then leaned back in his chair and said, according to Mc Intyre: "Son, when I get through with you, you are going to be battle monument"
The commission, which backers say does nice work, it still with us.
Light Duty! Just the mention of it around Lawrence Collins is enough to produce a nervous twitch on the union leader's face. Collins works at a Veterans Administration hospital and also is local leader of the National Association of Government Employees.
A few weeks back, Collins fell off a ladder - on the job - and fractured his ankle. While on the mend, VA said it would put him on light duty: shoveling snow around the New Hampshire hospital, which had plenty of it.
On his way to pick up a snow shovel, Collins fell in the snow. Result: compound fracture of the knee that is on the same leg as the ankle that originally rated him light duty.
A union official in Washington said Collins would like to try for "light duty" again, but fears he might be put on the tree-trimming detail.