Proposals to cut pay and freeze salaries until the federal job turnover hits industry levels have stunned and infuriated many federal workers. Readers say that talk about pay cuts and job changes have sent morale plummeting.
One contributor to Monday Morning Quarterback suggests a way Uncle Sam can get more people to leave, gladly.
A federal worker says the media -- not federal workers -- created the Christmas Eve nonholiday flap!
This is what the mailbag brought:
* "I am a fed who has had it! The plan to cut pay 5 percent, or have a massive layoff, is the last straw. Even if neither is accomplished this idiocy has done the worst kind of damage to morale . . . . The 'quit rate' data is meaningless.
"I'm sure the quit rate for some federal jobs is about to skyrocket . . . . I've taken steps to leave the federal service.
"I'm a computer specialist and can almost literally walk across the street and get better pay in the private sector.
"Serving the public once had a reward of its own . . . and outweighed better pay in industry . . . but with the fed-busting proposals morale is at rock-bottom . . . . I'm afraid I've grown cynical to the point . . . where I no longer believe the American public is worth serving."
Soon-to-be-ex-Fed in Falls Church.
* "I'm a single woman with the government since high school (1971) . . . . It has been layoffs, downgrading and job freezes, and delayed pay raises. When we got the 3 1/2 percent raise I got $7 in my paycheck. Health insurance went up.
"I live in Arlington which has no rent control so rents go up all the time. President Reagan's drycleaning bill is probably more than my salary. Life for me is one gigantic financial struggle!!! Government employes are sick and tired of being bad-mouthed by every administration . . . . Morale is low and productivity is bound to drop. What else can you expect when you are kicked around and treated like trash?"
* "I have a solution to OPM's 'problem' of low civil service turnover. Let civil servants leave and take out the money they contributed to the retirement fund, plus the government share, with interest, and take it to a private employer's retirement fund, or roll it over into an individual retirement account. Then the turnover rate may increase dramatically or even surpass the private sector's rate." Sam in Silver Spring.
"I'd like to bury the issue of federal workers complaining about not getting Christmas Eve off . . . . News media reports make it appear this is an overriding concern of civil servants. I am one. I am not upset. Nor are any of my colleagues."
Member of the Silent Federal Majority.
* "I say 'bah humbug' to all government employes wo accuse Uncle Sam of being Scrooge . . . and am amazed that working Christmas Eve is such a big issue. Hey, you guys, the holiday is Christmas, not Christmas Eve.
" . . . Thousands of us in the private sector will work Christmas Eve. If your boss gives you the day off be grateful . . . . Don't act as though it is expected. Those who do are, I assume, poor wretches chained to their desks and unware of the unemployment rate. They better watch out because not only is Santa coming to town, but there are a few hundred thousand people already here -- waiting in line for their jobs!
" . . . I suppose I shouldn't be so harsh on the pampered pussycats. But it is irritating to know they automatically assumed they would get Christmas Eve off. As a taxpayer . . . I am their employer. I didn't hear anybody ask me if they could have the day off!"