In the scheme of things in this company town, the first half of each year is the period in which the chairman of the board (the president) and the board of directors (the House and Senate) talk about their plans for the troops. We covered some of the high points of the first half of 1985 yesterday.
Today we cite some of the news during the second six months, when much of the talk was translated into action.
*July 11: "Because of congressional action to put federal-military pension increases and Social Security raises on the same timetable . . . civil service retirees have received only a 3 1/2 percent cost-of-living raise in the last 27 months.
"Now, because of budget compromising, there is a chance Congress may once again stick it to U.S. retirees." They did, taking back the 3.1 percent raise that went in effect Dec. 1.
*July 14: "Congress-watchers believe that the right to retire at age 55, one of the most attractive features of the federal pension program, is safe this year despite the long knives that budget cutters have out for the retirement program." The Reagan administration did cease its efforts to increase the retirement age last year.
*Aug. 23: "Federal and postal workers accustomed to annual increases in health premiums -- and corresponding cuts in benefit coverage -- may get some moderately good news this fall . . . . Indications are that most premium increases will be modest . . . . Some of the larger plans may actually cut 1986 premiums."
*Aug. 30: "President Reagan ordered a 15-month pay freeze yesterday for the government's 1.4 million civil servants . . . rejecting a report that said an average raise of 19.1 percent would be needed" to put federal pay on par with private industry.
*Sept. 4: Constance Horner, new director of the Office of Personnel Management, announced that 1986 health insurance premiums for federal and postal workers will drop an average of 6 percent, with some plans cutting premiums nearly in half.
*Oct. 23: "The typical government retiree would lose more than $6,000 in cost-of-living raises during the next few years if Congress passes the so-called balanced-budget act, according to Reps. Vic Fazio (D-Calif.) and Mary Rose Oakar (D-Ohio) . . . who object to plans for a prolonged freeze on retiree COLAs."
*Nov. 7: "An Office of Personnel Management study charges that overgrading of federal jobs continues to cost taxpayers $700 million a year and that agencies aren't doing enough about it."
Two years earlier, OPM reported that an estimated 14 percent of the federal work force was overgraded -- and overpaid -- and that about 30 percent of the jobs in the Washington area were overgraded.
*Dec. 20: Congress cleared legislation that would authorize payment of 1985 health insurance premium refunds to most federal workers and retirees, including more than 250,000 here. The refunds were proposed early in the year but had to be approved by Congress.
*Dec. 31: New federal layoff rules that tie job security more closely to performance but also give protection for seniority will go into effect Feb. 3.
The changes represent a compromise on reduction-in-force procedures that the White House had sought for more than three years, but that Congress had blocked.