The proposal to give pay raises only to federal workers in occupations or geographic areas where job turnover exceeds industry "quit rates" has angered many feds. They think the government is comparing apples and oranges and that the result is mush.
According to the Office of Personnel Management, the voluntary quit rate in government is 3.8 percent. Annual job turnover in industry, OPM says, averages 12 percent. Those numbers, OPM believes, indicate that civil servants are overpaid (why else would they stay?) and justifies a 5 percent pay cut and a new salary-setting system.
This is what some federal workers think about the quit-rate rationale:
* "Elementary analysis . . . shows the quit-rate analysis to be ill-conceived. Civil servants commonly possess highly developed skills vital to government but unneeded in the private sector. How many customs inspectors or copyright examiners can find comparable jobs elsewhere? Further, many private employers engaged in businesses of a cyclical nature experience loss of workers near the end of the work season. Such individuals seek substitute jobs. Finally, it is generally accepted that private pensions become vested and permit job-changing . . . . For all of the reasons above the private quit rate will always exceed that of government -- a phenomenon the OPM apparently overlooks." Interstate Commerce Commission employe.
* "Why is the U.S. quit rate low? It is not because we are satisfied with our jobs. We simply cannot find other jobs. Part of this . . . stems from the horrible and undeserved reputation federal workers have in the private sector. Since Ronald Reagan announced to the world how fat and lazy we are, what private employer would want to hire a former fed?" H.A.W., also known as Demoralized.
* "I make $30,000 a year for a job that requires being away from home and family 30 to 50 percent of the year. And I risk my life on a daily basis. I have been approached by the private contractor that is taking over many functions of my agency. He has offered me $52,000 a year, but I think I can bargain for a few thousand dollars more. Has anybody figured the cost of having private contractors do what government workers do?
"So Reagan's political appointees have accomplished their purpose. They have driven one more federal employe from the civil service and into the arms of the Beltway Bandits, along with millions of taxpayers' hard-earned dollars." C.B. in Springfield.
* "The OPM paper on how us deadbeat feds don't change jobs often enough is an example of some of the worst research and policy advice ever given . . . . OPM Director Donald Devine and others have given feds such a bad reputation that businesses either won't want us or don't consider past federal experience as useful.
" . . . It is no wonder when the boss, the president, regularly bad-mouths his work force." Professional Who Would Like to Find Another Job Right About Now!
* "I am a civilian working for the Department of the Navy. The proposed 5 percent reduction in pay for civilian employes only has been a major topic of conversation with both military and civilian personnel in my office. It is causing many conflicts. Should this reduction occur, offices with civilian and military personnel doing the same jobs will see a reduction in productivity and an atmosphere of discontent. Can't the president see he is driving a wedge between the two groups that are supposed to be working together?" J. from Arlington.