Administration legislation - launchers tentatively have picked June 6 (the 35th anniversary of D-Day) to military pay "reform" package to Capitol Hill.
Like the Normandy invasion, the Carter salary shakeup concept is expected by those who oppose it. And it will be met with fierce opposition by some unions and individual bureaucrats who see it as another nice-sounding scheme whose real purpose is to let Uncle Sam chisel deserved dollars from future pay boosts for white collar civil servants and the military.
Some ideas in the Carter pay reform plan date back to recommendations made by a blue-ribbon compensation panel chaired by the late Vice President Nelson Rockefeller. The Rockefeller group proposed that half a million white collar federal employes be removed from the 18 grade, national pay scale and have their salaries linked to going rates in local industry.
The area wage concept went nowhere then because Congress and the White House were controlled by different political parties. And the Republicans still were reeling from major distractions, like Watergate. This time around things may be different.
The Carter pay plan - outlined here Sunday - will be built on the TCC (Total Compensation Comparability) principle. TCC will require the government to weigh the value of its fringe benefits against those in industry in coming up with yearly pay raise changes. Adjustments would continue to be made each October for government workers.
White House officials hope to use the same legislative and media blitz campaign that helped them win civil service reform last year. They already have lined up pledges of support from business groups, something that makes federal unions all the more certain that TCC spells t-r-o-u-b-l-e for them and their million-plus members.
Insiders expect, however, that the White House will be less fortunate in finding champions like Rep. Morris K. Udall (D-Ariz.), who pushed civil service reform, to help guide the pay package. For one thing it lacks even the limited sex appeal of civil service reform.
"Anyway they [the Carter people] slice it for us, we will still be talking about billions of dollars for an unpopular subject, federal pay," a member of Congress said yesterday.
Congress, in election years traditionally has reacted to handling federal pay matters with the enthusiasm your grandmother would accept a basket of shrunken heads. All things being equal, it would just as soon not be present at the unwrapping.
Nevertheless, White House aides believe they can lay the groundwork for pay reform this year. They will sell it as something that will be fairer to both taxpayers and federal workers. If Congress buys the concept and okays it by early next year, it could have an impact on the size and amount of the October 1980 raise for government and military personnel.