Although some commentators blithely tell the world what's on the collective mind of Washington's 350,000 federal government workers, odds are those analysts are wrong unless they've figured how to ask 350,000 people the same question at the same time. When is the last time some a "spokesman" asked you what you thought?
All of the above is the reason behind the Monday Morning Quarterback, where you can sound off (please keep it short, and clean) so your neighbors, coworkers, bosses and elected officials can get a different view. Today's comments range from politics and pay imbalances to health insurance:"Whenever I read of plans to revise the Hatch Act I realize how often I, as a federal employe, am inundated with requests to give at the office: to the Combined Federal Campaign, to blood banks, to buy bonds, to buy my colleagues' kids' cookies or magazine subscriptions or to buy objects from organizations with tables near our cafeteria.
"Please, Congress, don't add 'Give to the Party of your Choice' . . . . There are lots of emotional pitches to give, and I would rather work at the office and contemplate my political orientation in the privacy of my own home where I don't have to consider what my boss will think." A.W., Reston
"As a 20-year fed I've never spoken out in public for a political cause or candidate. I'm not sure I would exercise my new rights if the Hatch Act is amended. But it would be nice to have the option . . . . " B.W., Brandywine
"The 31 percent average increase in health insurance premiums is an outrageous amount. I'm the ex-spouse of a federal retiree and must pay the entire premium. In three years they will have doubled. I can't afford to pay and can't afford not to have the coverage.
"What puzzles me is why the government can't foster more competition between the hundreds of companies competing for employe premiums. Yes, malpractice insurance is increasing, but a 2 percent premium rise for 4 million workers and retirees would generate a lot of money. We don't all sue doctors!" R.G.W., Salisbury, Md.
"I nearly flipped when I read the Oct. 5 column concerning the way special pay raises for federal employes are sometimes limited to certain areas of a city or certain agencies. It doesn't matter that everyone works for the government. If your agency happens to be on the wrong side of town or it's one of the non-blessed agencies, you get no pay raise.
"Last April's special pay raise of from 2.6 percent to 23 percent for clerical employes here was another brilliant mess-up. The lower grade employes needed a raise, but all clerical employes deserved the maximum. I am a Grade 7 long-time secretary. The sole clerical support for my division of 15. Up the hall the GS 5 clerk-typist whose duties are nowhere near mine now gets $50 every two weeks less than I do because her percentage raise was bigger. I'm sure many GS 7 employes like me are still trying to accept the fact that jobs requiring less knowledge and expertise are being paid almost as much.
"Health insurance, rents and the necessities of life are all on the rise. The president is talking about a 2 percent pay raise; Congress wants to give us 3 percent. To top it off workers must worry about layoffs because our nation can afford everything but federal personnel costs. This stuff is too much even for a TV series. My advice to recent graduates seeking employment: Run to private industry; the federal government is 'illing.' "