U.S. managers and supervisors, now paid under a carrot-and-stick system that is short on carrots and long on sticks, would return to the good old days (pre-1981) when they got the same percentage pay raises as subordinates under legislation being worked up by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.).

Wolf's congressional district is chock full of mid- and upper-level civil servants (GS 13s, 14s and 15s). Last year most went into a merit system created by the Carter administration. The idea was to make the supervisors and managers--there are about 60,000 here--hustle a little more for their bread.

The plan guarantees merit pay folks only half of the October percentage pay raise that other feds gets.

To get more, the supervisors and managers must get good marks from their bosses. Additional increases are financed in part from money that once went for longevity and quality step raises that the merit pay people no longer get.

Many managers/supervisors last year got smaller raises under merit pay than did their subordinates who got regular adjustments.

Wolf, a member of the Post Office-Civil Service Committee, would change all that. He would guarantee supervisors/managers the same percentage rise as other workers. They would get higher raises if they earned them.

Unless and until the law is changed, federal/managers and supervisors this October are guaranteed only 2.5 percent (half the amount the president has set for other white collar feds). Anything above that depends on how much money is in the merit pay pool, and how bosses divide it up.