Horror stories about government doctors turned into typists, and$40,000-a-year professionals offered jobs as chauffeurs to VIPs may help the Reagan administration if it decides to remove some of the protections for U.S. workers knocked around in RIFs (reductions in force).
Key administration officials are considering legislation that would eliminate much of the "bumping" that takes place in government when RIFfed, long-service, highly paid aides lose their jobs and move into low-level slots, keeping their higher salaries.
The current round of RIFs in federal agencies has produced a rash of horror stories--as in yesterday's column--about top-paid career employes who displace clerks, typists and less senior subordinates.
But instead of being upset with the "bad press," some officials are reportedly delighted each time they read such a story or see a report about it on TV. They think, probably correctly, that the items about high-paid brass knocking a typist out of a job make current RIF rules (which give job retention preference based on seniority and military service) look silly, wasteful and disruptive to the public, and Congress.
Although instances of $50,000-a-year types being turned into$50,000-a-year typists are rare, they do happen. And they are newsworthy. But instead of being embarrassed about the disruption RIFs nearly always cause, key political appointees see it as a chance to build a case against bumping rights, and pay protection for aides hit by no-fault demotions.
Office of Personnel Management officials are talking about modifying RIF rules, to restrict job bumping in future RIFs and perhaps put shorter limits on the amount of time demoted workers can keep their old salaries.