A growing number of federal workers and retirees say they plan to use their checkbooks to get back at politicians who are attempting to balance the budget on the backs of the civil service.
In the past few weeks, many writers of letters to this column have said they will reject financial appeals from Democrats and Republicans who say nice things about government employes and at the same time vote for pay and pension freezes for the 5 million civil servants and retirees.
The second most popular theme reflected in letters to the Monday Morning Quarterback is sounded by longtime employes who say they are no longer proud to work for the government and regret signing on with Uncle Sam.
Many of them add that they wouldn't recommend the federal service as a career for their children.
And, as always, we get mail from people in and out of government who say feds don't know how good they have it.
This is what some Washington area residents are taking time to write about:
*"Federal retirees and employes receive numerous requests for political contributions. May I suggest that such requests be returned -- not to the fund-raising post office box number but to the office of the politician involved -- with an explanatory note.
"It should say that we are outraged by pay and pension freezes and are giving all our political contributions (and energies) to the National Association of Retired Federal Employees, or to one of the federal or postal union's political action committees.
"Those organizations work against those whose votes are supporting the unfair and cruel changes in the federal personnel system."
W.E.S., Fort Washington
*"Recently you published a letter from someone citing the fact that the new Martin Luther King holiday wasn't a holiday for everyone. However . . . the person who raised the issue works for a private company that gives him five personal days off each year as well as paid holidays. He gets more paid days off than the feds.
"As I reflect on 20 years of government service, I am saddened by the continuing belief of outsiders that we have it better. We don't have expense accounts, company cars or bonuses.
"We didn't get a raise this year, and future raises are uncertain.
"Yet we are the millions who carry out the policies of a handful, and when those policies don't work, or are distasteful, it is the bureaucrat . . . who takes the blame.
" . . . We bureaucrats need a PR campaign . . . . We have traded a career in industry where, if you're good enough, the sky is the limit, for a federal career of minimal raises and the stigma of being a necessary evil.
"My four talented sons are ready for a challenging career. Unfortunately, I can't bring myself to recommend federal service."
*"You are aiding and abetting the civil servants' bleatings, as pumped up by their unions.
"Why not help them in their miseries by pointing out that in this area 38 percent (by official study) are overgraded and overpaid."
W.S.S., Bethesda (a former federal personnel officer)