If you have one of the government's 150,000-plus temporary jobs, it may be even more temporary than you think. Temporaries in many cases will be the first fired when their agencies shart reduction in force (RIF) actions.
On the other side of the coin, your job is most secure if you are a longtime career employe with a military service-connected disability.
Federal agencies are still trying to figure out how many people will have to be fired (riffed) because of personnel and program cuts. The layoffs may be the biggest since the Eisenhower years, when a number of shipyards -- employing mainly blue collar workers -- were shut down. The Reagan administration is cutting two ways -- programs and job dollars. And that will hit many white collar civilians.
Agencies are drawing up retention registers. They will determine who gets canned first. (The government is working on a guidebook that will give top managers a crash course on what a RIF is, and how to run one).
When a RIF strikes, the best rating you can have is to be in the AD group. AD people are veterans with "compensable service connected disabilities" of 30 percent or more. The next safest group is the A group, made up of regular veterans. At the bottom of the fire-proof pole are people rated in B group, which is everybody else.
The likelihood of being riffed decreases if you are a long-service veteran with an "outstanding" performance rating. That designation -- if you have it you know it -- can add another 4 years to your federal service time, and some agencies are scambling to give the ratings to employes they want to keep.
Temporary workers, nonveterans and short-service employes will, in most cases, be the first to go within their competitive area. If the job of a higher level veteran is abolished, that employe will be able to bump down within his/her competitive area, and displace workers with less service. In some cases, four of five people will be bumped before they reach the end of the line, and then the last-hired will be the first-fired.
Labor Department is under orders to reduce nearly 2,000 positions between now and Sept. 30. DOL has about 23,000 workers nationwide, and about 8,000 here. The cuts will take out about 900 full-time permanent positions and around 1,200 part-time and temporary employes in mostly low-level clerical positions, working as student aides or in various cooperative programs.
Most of the job cuts will be in the Employment Services Administration, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration-Management and Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Senior Executive Service: Jerry Shaw, president of the Senior Executives Association, says the administration will cripple the SES if it limits reassignment or fall-back rights for executives. This column reported yesterday on an internal battle in the Office of Personnel Management over pending RIF rules for the career executives.
The rules will determine whether executives hit by RIFs could fall back to lower-grade jobs or to other SES vacancies. OPM hard-liners say that the fall-back provision should not be included in the executive layoff rules, and that agencies should not be required to place riffed executives in vacancies. There are about 1,800 vacancies in the SES which has 7,300 executives.
Shaws says his association is "very concerned because it appears [from the Post story] that the policymakers are allowing the lawyers to establish policy through the use of legal opinion. . . . We do not view either of the issues as being issues of legal interpreation. But if that is what it comes down to, we are perfectly willing to match their lawyers against our lawyers."
Shaw says the OPM lawyers' argument against fall-back and reassignment "totally ignores the theory behind the SES. It was created as a cadre of executives whose skills could be used in a variety of different assignments in different agencies. To kick them out [during a RIF] after spending large sums for training and development is totally inefficient."
Barring fall-back rights for executives during a RIF but allowing marginal executives who fail in the SES to move down a grade, Shaw said, "means the best people will be kicked out" while those who don't measure up to SES standards will have guaranteed jobs in government.