The president of the Senior Executives Association has blasted Congress for giving back-door pay raises of up to 20 percent to top Senate and House aides while denying this year's 2 percent general pay increase to most of the federal government's top civil servants.
Late last year Congress inserted language in an 1,100-page catchall spending bill giving the Senate authority to raise top staffers' pay to $86,815 while approving a new $82,500 pay ceiling for employees of the House.
SEA President Carol Bonosaro said that while the raises for top Capitol Hill aides "may be justified . . . the Congress has exhibited complete disregard for the future of the career civil service" by denying the general 2 percent federal pay raise to seven of every 10 top federal careerists in the Senior Executive Service.
Salaries for the approximately 7,000 SES members range from $65,994 to $77,500.
Members of Congress got two pay raises last year, the general 3 percent federal raise plus a much larger increase in March that brought the salary of members to $89,500. But because this is an election year, members decided it would be unwise to take the 2 percent general pay raise that went into effect last month.
In denying themselves the raise they also denied it to SES members who earn $73,400 or more. An estimated 70 percent of the SES members are in those top three pay grades and therefore didn't get the raises.
Bonosaro said that many high-level federal jobs are now vacant because executives have quit and qualified replacements can't be found, because of pay caps and changes in federal retirement benefit rules.Taxing Retirement
Many recently retired, or about to retire, civil servants are having problems doing their taxes because of changes affecting annuities and lump sum pension payments.
At 1 p.m. tomorrow on WNTR radio (1050 AM) Washington lawyer Thomas O'Rourke will answer questions about the new tax rules and give an update on a pending lawsuit brought by more than 500 recent retirees who are seeking to overturn recent tax rule changes. Police Pay Raises
The Office of Personnel Management yesterday announced special pay raises of up to 23 percent to several thousand federal police officers, including more than 2,000 in the Washington-Baltimore area.
Reps. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) and Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) set the stage for the raises late last year when they inserted language into a catchall federal spending bill that gives OPM additional leeway to adjust the pay of federal workers in hard-to-fill jobs.
Nationwide the new increases for uniformed members of the Secret Service and U.S. Park Police will range from 4 to 12 percent. More than 1,600 officers will get the raises, which are designed to bring their salaries up to rates paid by the D.C. police department.
Locally, OPM also will give pay raises -- of from 3.3 percent to 23.3 percent -- to nearly 900 police officers with the departments of Health and Human Services, Defense, Treasury's Bureau of Engraving and Printing and to special officers at the General Services Administration.