Office of Management and Budget staffers who worked long and hard cutting $35 billion cut of next year's federal spending plan deserved some recompense from Uncle Sam. At least that's what the chief budget cutter, David A. Stockman, thought.
So yesterday Stockman rewarded most of his agency's 556 workers with a holiday, at a cost to taxpayers of about $76,000 -- the daily OMB payroll -- and the chagrin of other federal workers who stayed on the job awaiting a mere three-day weekend.
Stockman, the fabled workaholic, was, of course, hard at work yesterday. He met with White House chief of staff James A. Baker III, gave a live cable television interview, spoke before foreign journalists at the National Press Club and was generally preoccupied in "going over the books," according to his confidential assistant.
"I hope you will all enjoy a well-earned four-day holiday," Stockman cheerfully told his troops in a Tuesday memorandum granting the one-day administrative leave that extended the holiday weekend.
"The basic rationale behind it is that OMB employes have been working incredibly long hours, weekends and nights and we deserved a break, I believe Mr. Stockman felt," spokeswoman Carol Camp explained.
Edwin W. Dale, OMB's director of public affairs, said the 329 OMB professionals, budget analysts, economists and such, unlike the agency's secretaries, are not eligible for overtime pay. Even five days apiece in overtime pay for these workers could cost up to $125 million yearly, Dale added.
Dale denied that the last-minute bonus was granted, as one federal worker charged, because OMB workers "threw a big stink" on learning they have not been invited to the White House to view the Fouth of July fireworks display on the Mall.
President and Mrs. Reagan have discontinued the tradition of inviting Executive Branch workers to the Independence Day festivities in favor of a barbecue with the guest list limited to White House staffers. The Reagans have asked their guests to dress in turn-of-the-century fashion, "blazers and white pants for the men; long dresses for women," according to Barbara Cook, of the First Lady's press office.
Workers in others parts of the Executive Office Building seemed particularly pained at the exclusive day off enjoyed by the OMB staffers, although they voiced their discontent on the condition of anonymnity.
"I don't think it's right," grumped an Executive Branch clerk typist. "It shows how much they think of us."