While some federal civil servants grumbled yesterday and others applauded President Carter's plan to make them pay as they park, the man in charge of most federal parking around town shrugged knowingly.

"I expect we'll hear a lot of . . . screaming, but then we'll hear the sound of people pulling out their check books," said Jay Cohen of the General Services Administration.

"People will pay. You know, it's "Take my wife, please, but don't take my parking space."

The Carter plan will, by Cohen's "guestimate", put the average monthly parking cost at about $50.

"The guy who is getting hit by this is the VIP in a single-occupant space," Cohen said. The majority of employes who carpool in order to get the spaces will be dividing the cost up four or five ways for monthly amounts of $10 or $12, he said, so the impact on them will be relatively small.

For some public servants, however, the issue was not money, but fair play. "Why is it always the public employes who get the shaft, who have to take the first step in sacrificing something?" asked Dennis Dickstein, an irate budget analyst at HEW's office of education. He said, incidentally, that he takes Metro and does not drive to work.

"The president could have placed the same restriction on private employes, for example by putting an excise tax on their packing spaces", Dickstein said.

"It's unfair, just further evidence of Mr. Carter's low regard for the government employe," said Food and Drug Administration official Paul R. Litz, who parks under Federal Building No. 8 in Southwest. Because he walks with a cane and has a special disability permit, he said, his space is free.

Carter press secretary Judy Powell said yesterday that White House staffers who now are provided free spaces will be charged for them as soon as fees are worked out.

The parking spaces include those on a lot between the White House and the Executive Office Building, and permit-only parking on State Place behing the EOB and spaces around the Ellipse, a White House spokesman said.

Powell said there also will be charges for 23 spaces now assigned to White House reporters and photographers.

A number of federal workers criticized the exclusion of Congress and its 8,000 free parking spaces in Carter's order. However, Carter has no control over those congressional spaces.Administration officials said they are "encouraging" the Congress to take similar steps to charge for the spaces.

Carter's plan drew applause, on the other hand, from some federal workers, especially those who routinely ride the bus or subway to work.

Leroy West, who said his job is "basically, throwing away trash" at the Department of Housing and Urban Development called the plan "great." In my job, I see every day how much waste there is in government. Maybe this will cut down on energy waste just a little."

Steve Weitz, an urban planner at HUD, seconded that. "I've been riding the bus for 11 years and . . . fuming because my neighbors were ripping off my tax dollars" by using tax-subsidized parking spaces.

"They should triple" the parking fees, urged marine biologist Alvaro Yamhure, who said he carpool to work at the Environmental Protection Agency with five fellow workers. "People are just spoiled. They don't want to get off their . . . four wheels."

Kenneth T. Blaylock, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, yesterday restated the union's oppostion to Carter's decision to "once again hoist federal workers up on a flagpole as 'symbols' of HIS commitment."

Donald MacIntyre, the union's vice president for the Washington area, said that, in the wake of an earlier plan drawn up by Washington area officials to ban free and low-cost parking, AFGE has already collected 11,000 signatures from federal and D.C. employes on a petition to protest an earlier proposal to ban free and low cost parking.