Rep. William D. Ford (D-Mich.), chairman of the House Post Office and Civil Service Committee, yesterday attacked a presidential advisory commission report on federal workers as "riddled with statistical error, misrepresentation and disregard for fact."
The report issued last week by the President's Private Sector Survey on Cost Control, a group of businessmen headed by industrialist W. Peter Grace, identified nearly $35 billion the government could save in federal employe benefit programs, including $16 billion in savings from changes in the civil service retirement system.
However, in a 23-page statement yesterday, Ford charged that the report issued by the Grace committee's task force on personnel management, one of 38 groups working to find ways to cut federal spending, "is a deceitful attempt to heap more discredit on federal workers by blatantly exaggerating their pay and benefits and by recklessly bending fact as far as proposed savings are concerned."
Ford said he would hold hearings on the report with experts from the Congressional Budget Office, the General Accounting Office and the Grace Committee. "I intend to use all the resources at my disposal to determine the extent the original report was politicized and distorted--and by whom."
Murray Sanders, a communications officer for the Private Sector survey, said he could not comment on the Ford statement until he had read it.
According to Ford, errors in the task force report include:
* A $13 billion error in estimating federal salaries by including postal service workers in their calculations.
* Incorrectly comparing federal and private health benefits by including employe contributions in one and not the other, thus skewing the figures.
* Estimating potential savings in white-collar pay at $3.6 billion over three years, if its recommendations were to be followed--whereas Ford finds the recommendations would cost more than $15 billion.
* Exaggerating potential savings in the civil service retirement costs by claiming $18 billion in possible savings from 1984 to l986, whereas Ford said no more than $3 billion are possible.
The task force on personnel management recommended that the age at which federal workers can retire with full benefits be raised to 62. Now they can retire at 55 with full benefits after 30 years service.
Ford said the average age of federal employes taking optional retirement over the last 10 years is 61.1 years.