Congress has until Nov. 20 to come up with a budget reconciliation package that would head off across-the-board spending cuts mandated by the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit reduction law. If it finds a plan agreeable to the president, agencies can avoid most of the layoffs that would otherwise be triggered by the deficit reduction act. They could still be forced to cut spending but would have more freedom to decide where to cut.
In addition to job security, there are three major items in the reconciliation package of interest to the 2.7 million federal and postal workers: The first is the amount of the 1988 pay raise for more than a million white-collar and blue-collar (wage board) employes. The 2 percent increase proposed by the president for January is technically in effect. But Congress is working to increase the amount of that 1988 pay raise to 3 percent, and even if the reconciliation package fails there is a good chance that Congress will find a way to increase the 1988 pay raise slightly. Last year the president also proposed a 2 percent raise, for January 1987, but Congress raised it to 3 percent.
The second major item in the reconciliation proposal would apply the so-called Public Pension Offset to federal workers who switch from the old Civil Service Retirement System to the new Federal Employees Retirement System. Currently employes who moved from the old plan to FERS can escape that offset, which reduces Social Security benefits they get as a spouse or survivor of someone covered by Social Security by the amount of their federal, state or local government annuity. Congress is moving to amend the FERS legislation to require most workers who switch to be under FERS for at least five years before they could avoid the offset.
A third feature of reconciliation would reduce the amount of time government workers must have under Social Security-covered employment to avoid the so-called Windfall Benefits Act. It reduces a portion of an individual's Social Security benefit based on his or her civil service pension. Now, individuals must have 30 years of coverage under Social Security to fully escape the offset. The pending change would reduce the required coverage time to 25 years under Social Security.
The hangup in the reconciliation bill is that the White House objects to new taxes and defense cuts that are being proposed by congressional Democrats.Job Mart
The Navy wants a GM (merit pay) 14 procurement analyst. Call Robin Mazyck at 692-7166.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission needs a records maintenance technician, GS 4/5 with civil service status. Call Joni Boone at 357-5410.
Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service needs a computer specialist, GS 11/12; a payroll clerk, GS 4/5; and a secretary-stenographer, GS 6/7. Status required. Call Yvonne Goodwyn at 653-5260.
Federal Prison Industries wants secretaries, GS 4 through 6. Call Melanie Cohen at 724-3265.
Interior's Office of Surface Mining needs an "abandoned mine lands collection officer" and a "civil penalty collection officer" both GM (merit pay) 14. Call Hazel Leftwich at 343-4153.