Who says the mail is slow? Who says federal workers are apathetic?

On Wednesday this column discussed the budget crunch that agencies are facing, and the fact that many are considering layoffs, furloughs or both. A number of callers had suggested we take a poll, asking government workers if they would give up a day or two of pay voluntarily if it could prevent RIFs in their agency.

That was Wednesday morning. As of yesterday, Thursday afternoon at 5 p.m., the mail was rolling in. This is the count so far:

142 people (many identifying themselves, most listing their agency -- all with their own stamps) voted "yes," they would give up a day or two of work, and pay, to prevent RIFs.

5 voted "no." One Bowie, Md., man said he voted that way because he felt the question is "simplistic and the results will be misused. Many workers . . . are going through difficult financial times. I feel the administration will use the concern of federal workers and say in effect to Congress, 'Look, they don't care if they don't get paid. What are you complaining about? There are other ways to reduce the deficit."

One person voted "not sure."

We'll keep counting, and give you an update later on. And also pass the results on to President Reagan and agency heads who will have to make RIF or furlough decisions over the next couple of months.

Shutting Down: Dwight Ink, who helped phase out the Community Services Administration, will tell what it was like at the Oct. 21 meeting of the SES Candidate Network. Session is open to people in executive development program. Time is noon, place Room 2008, New Executive Office Building. Call Al Bishop at 566-3520 for details.

Jobs: Corps of Engineers has openings (here and at Fort Belvoir) for Grade 11 and 12 electrical engineers. Call Christopher Duzor on 962-2100 . . . Commerce in Georgetown has clerical openings (Grades 4 and 5) for full-time, part-time, temporary or permanent positions. Contact Megan Myers at 634-7408.

Sen. Paula Hawkins (R-Fla.) is the keynote speaker (10 a.m.) at today's Women's Day program at the Government Printing Office.

Merit Systems Protection Board has a new address. The whistle-blower protection agency is on the 8th and 9th floors, 1120 Vermont Ave. NW, telephone number is 653-8898.

Health Plan Benefits: The National Federation of Federal Employees will go to U.S. District Court today, challenging the Office of Personnel Management's right to order carriers to make last-minute cuts in benefits they want to offer next year. OPM has told the 100-plus plans in the program they must make additional cuts -- of 6.5 percent -- in their programs by 5 p.m. today or get out of the program.

Richard Lukstat, veteran of the U.S. Postal Service and White House staff, and Herbert E. Hetu, former public affairs director for the Central Intelligence Agency, have formed H & L Inc., specializing in PR, government liaison and management consulting. They've hung out their shingle at 1835 K St. NW, telephone 466-6911.

Washington's 100,000 government retirees are due a minimum 6.9 percent cost-of-living raise next March. The adjustment for retired federal and military personnel will reflect the COL increase from January 1981 to December 1981. The COL rise as of August was 6.9 percent.

Harlan Cleveland, former undersecretary of state and currently director of the University of Minnesota's Hubert Humphrey public affairs institute, is guest speaker at 7:30 tonight at the George Mason University studio theater. This is part of the doctor of public administration lecture series. Open to the public.