A horrible rumor swept federal offices Friday afternoon, just as most of our town's 300,000 whitecollar U.S. employes were clearing their desks for the long Columbus Day weekend.

The heart-stopper -- which spoiled Saturday, Sunday and Monday for many government workers, their spouses and creditors -- was the report that there had been some sort of foul-up at the White House that would delay or even kill off the 9.1 percent raise due to kick in this month to bolster the government's $752 million-a-month payroll.

A band of dedicated federal officials stayed late Friday to check it out.They discovered that various payroll offices were advising people they might have to wait for their raises until as late as December. Not true, according to the officials.

Although President Carter had not signed the executive order covering the pay adjustment as of Friday night, the raises themselves went into effect automatically with the first pay period of October. That was Oct. 5 for most people.

Officials say that Carter will sign the EO. There are some technical questions, dealing with raises for Grade 16 personnel, that must be ironed out first. They should be cleared up this week, and people will get the raises on time.