The 191,686 federal civil servants in the District of Columbia average $25,424 a year. That is $5,000 higher than the nationwide average government salary and almost $10,000 more than the typical government salary in California, which has 260,000 U.S. bureaucrats ranging from missle scientists to warehouse helpers.
Federal government workers in Maryland average $23,111. Their counterparts in Virgina average $22,350. Maryland has about 118,000 U.S. government workers. Virginia has 133,000 with heavy concentrations of professionals in Washington's suburbs and Norfolk's big, blue-collar population.
Although Uncle Sam has national pay scales -- the same salary job-for-job, regardless of location -- average salary levels vary from state to state. There are special above-minimum rates paid for certain hard-to-fill jobs in some areas, but for the most part a secretary or administrator in New Mexico gets the same salary as a worker doing the same job in New York City.
Pay for the 1.2 million white-collar (General Schedule) civil servants is set by the president, based on annual October adjustments that are supposed to represent a catchup with industry. Last year, federal white-collar workers from Suitland to Seattle got the same 9.1 percent average increase. This year, President Reagan has proposed a 4.8 percent boost, based on the assumption that Congress will pass a pay reform bill he is pushing. His proposal would link federal salaries to the going rate for similar jobs in hometown private industry and figure the worth of such government fringe benefits as vacations, insurance and holidays against similar benefits for non-federal workes and the 12 million state and local government employes whose salaries now are excluded from the U.S. government-industry pay comparison.
Federal union leaders say that because past presidents Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Carter have authorized raises below the industry-catchup level, federal workers on average are now 13 percent behind private industry wage levels.
Wages for postal workers are set through direct contract negotiations between the semi-independent U.S. Postal Service and major unions. Their current contract, which guaranteed employes three flat pay raises plus nine partial cost-of-living catchups, expires in July. Postal workers have a slightly lower average salary than white-collar federal employes. And blue-collar (wage board) workers, including skilled craftsmen, drivers, mechanics and laborers, have a lower average than postal workes. Blue-collar salaries are pegged to home-town industry rates for the same kinds of jobs.Union leaders contend that Uncle Sam juggles those figures, too. Carter and Reagan planners have said that federal blue-collar workes on within-grade steps get anywhere from 8 percent to 12 percent more than private industry workers doing the same jobs.
Here are current "average" salaries for U.S. civil servants in selected states. Workers in Alaska get a 20 percent to 25 percent tax-free differential that is not reflected in these averages. U.S. aides in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands get smaller tax-free, cost-of-living differentials.
The averages: Alabama, $21,665; Alaska, $24,485; Arizona, $19,767; California, $16,418; Colorado, $21,568; Delaware, $20,359; District of Columbia, $25,424.
Florida, $20,968; Georgia, $20,692; Idaho, more than $20,000; Illinois, $20,728; Kansas, $20,301; Kentucky, $19,108; Louisiana, $19,610; Maryland, $23,111; Massachusetts, $20,693; Michigan, $20,633; Mississippi, $20,223; Minnesota, $20,944; Missouri, $20,302; New Mexico and New York, both about $20,200; North Caolina, $19,829; Montana, Nebraska and Nevada all about $20,900; Ohio, $21,734; Pennsylvania, $19,694; Texas, with 134,000 federal workers $20,116; Vermont, with only 3,200 federal workers, $20,419; Virginia, $22,350; West Virginia, $19,889, and Wisconsin and Wyomong about $20,100 each.
These figures will be important when Congress takes up the Reagan pay plan. It would base U.S. white-collar pay levels on local industry rates, cutting future raises for federal workers in many low-cost, low-salary areas. The salary spread also shows why low-level federal workes in some areas are at the bottom of the economic totem pole, while the same jobs in small towns put them in the upper income bracket.