Reagan administration officials say there has been relatively little reaction from rank-and-file feds over plans to raise the retirement age. They claim that most complaints about linking in-grade pay raises and job security to ability (rather than seniority) has come from politicians and labor unions, not the people they represent.

The White House wants to raise the federal retirement age from 55 to 65. It says the current system encourages the best people to retire earlier than they would be allowed to in the private sector.

The administration also wants to change existing rules so that step pay increases and layoff protection are based on performance, not time in the job.

Key to the rules changes is a new standardized job performance rating system. An employe's most recent performance rating would determine whether he gets an in-grade pay raise, or is put on the RIF list at layoff time.

It is hard to poll people who would be affected by the changes without asking loaded questions.

The proposed retirement changes worry many feds. And many also have misgivings about replacing a system that virtually guarantees automatic raises based on seniority for one that emphasizes performance.

Perhaps the real issue is whether they think the changes will improve government, or damage morale and politicize the civil service.

When feds talk about the changes, they usually mention two things: Fairness and the motives of the administration in proposing the changes.

Is the federal pension system so generous that government is justified in raising the retirement age and increasing employe contributions from 7 percent to 11 percent of salary?

Is it fair to deny raises to a long-time worker, or to RIF him, if he gets one bad performance rating in an otherwise satisfactory career? Will the reforms motivate workers, or become a tool that bosses could use to punish--or perhaps to fire--career employes?

What do you think? Are the changes unfair, or to they represent an attempt to bring the real world into government?

The people proposing the changes say they aren't hearing from you. So vote. You tell us. We will tell them.