More than 61,000 people -- equal to one of every six U.S. employes here or about half the number of voters in the District election last November--have responded to a job survey questionnaire that ran here April 17.
The survey was intended to give federal employes--and anybody else--a chance to vote (and comment) on a sweeping personnel "reform" package proposed by the president. It would raise the age for retiring on full benefits to 65 and substitute performance for seniority when determining who gets pay raises, promotions or laid off.
Before the survey, Reagan administration officials said they not heard much from government employes about the proposed changes. What feedback they had, they said, indicated that feds supported the reforms. It just shows we travel in different circles. Obviously they were talking to different people than we heard from.
We (that is nine people, working evenings and weekends, too) counted 61,414 votes. That does not include several boxes (many with photocopies of the questionnaire) that arrived well after we cut off the voting because we couldn't cope with the mail.
Donald Devine, director of the Office of Personnel Management, and some of his aides took a peek at the responses. So did Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-Md) and Frank Wolf (R-Va.). Ken Blaylock, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, eyeballed the mail.
So did people from the National Treasury Employees Union, National Federation of Federal Employees and the Machinists Union. Channel 7 (WJLA-TV) took pictures of it, too.
Most of the ballots had postmarks from the Washington area. But we did get a large number of letters from Missouri, Ohio, Georgia, California and the state of Washington as well as hundreds of letters from U.S. workers stationed overseas.
The majority of the voters identified themselves as government employes. Nonfederal workers tended to favor the president's retirement revisions, but generally agreed with federal employe voters who said this administation is more hostile to them than the Carter administration.
The vote showed there is apparently greater job satisfaction in the CIA, Veterans Administration, Export-Import Bank, and the Navy than in many other agencies. Employes who identified their agencies in the questionnaire said that despite changes in the federal service, they would go to work for government again if they had the chance.
Employes who said they would not sign up with Uncle Sam again included a majority of workers who identified themselves as working for the Labor Department, Office of Personnel Management, General Services Administration, Environmental Protection Agency and Interior Department.
Here are the questions asked in the poll, and the final count:
* Regardless of how it affects you personally, do you think it is fair to make government workers work until age 65 to draw full benefits? Yes, 10,138; No, 51,266.
* Would you support or oppose a system that ranks performance over seniority if you thought that performance appraisals would be made fairly? Yes, 31,140; No, 30,201.
* Do you think such a system would work in your office? Yes, 10,114; No, 51,266.
* Do you feel this administration is better or worse than the Carter administration in its treatment of federal workers? Better, 3,163; worse, 57,414; About the same, 725.
* If you had it to do over again, would you go to work for the government? Yes, 11,349; No, 50,041.
* Are you a government employe or retiree? Yes, 58,003; No, 3,009.
We can't guarantee that the survey will influence the course of history. But a lot of very important people who have the power to approve, modify or reject the proposals, have been watching this vote. And if you are one of the 60,000 plus people who responded, thanks. Now the White House and the Congress know how you feel.