Because the upcoming elections mean a short legislative calendar, Congress may have time this year for only one big bill affecting civil servants: a union-backed plan to allow any of the government's 3 million workers to be fund-raisers, campaign managers or political candidates after nearly 50 years of legal insulation from partisan politics.
The calendar of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee reflects a preoccupation with politics. The committee's first item of business -- next week -- is to hold hearings on presidential transition. Next up -- Feb. 23-24 -- are hearings on proposals to modify the Hatch "no politics" Act.
Last year the House passed a bill that would remove most restrictions against partisan political activity covering federal and postal workers. Although the measure got enough Republican support to allow it to be called bipartisan, it still is viewed by many as a labor union initiative pushed by the Democrats. President Reagan has threatened to veto the bill. But postal and federal union lobbyists, who are among the best headcounters on Capitol Hill, say they have encountered no resistance from senators in either party.
Although the number of congressional workdays will be reduced by the elections and the Democratic and Republican conventions, even opponents of the Hatch Act expect it to pass Congress and be sent to the president.
In a campaign that is, so far, short of major ideas or differences, Hatch Act reform could become something of an issue. All the Democratic candidates have backed, or will back, the change. But the two leading Republicans, who aren't counting on much support from federal and postal unions anyway, may oppose the changes.
Vice President Bush may oppose it out of loyalty to the boss, while Senate GOP leader Robert J. Dole (Kan.) could be assigned to drum up opposition to the bill.
So because of its timing, the Hatch Act overhaul, normally a real yawner outside of the federal family, may have two distinctions this year: It may be a minor campaign issue and very likely will be the only civil service item Congress will pursue to the end.Jackson Ticket
Bernard Demczuk, top organizer for the American Federation of Government Employees union, led the voting in the Dec. 6 Democratic caucus selecting convention delegates. Demczuk, running as a Jesse Jackson delegate, got 222 votes, running ahead of D.C. Del. Walter Fauntroy and members of the D.C. Council who also sought delegate assignments.
Virginia State Comptroller Edward Majur will speak at the Wednesday dinner of the Association of Government Accountants, NOVA chapter at the Sheraton National Hotel in Arlington. Call Sophie Jasinski at 376-8822.
The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology has a temporary opening for a Grade 12 ($33,218) public affairs specialist. Call 576-2727.
The Library of Congress needs a GS 7 visual information specialist. Call 287-5620.
The Peace Corps is looking for a GS 14 supervisory personnel management specialist. Call Beth Patterson at 254-5170.
Health and Human Services wants two clerk-typists, GS 4. Call Doris Summey at 245-0071.