The head of a charitable fund for and about federal workers has a plan to finance loans for government employees who are furloughed: He wants President Bush to persuade furlough-proof political appointees to kick in 20 percent of their pay to the fund if their rank-and-file workers are short-checked because of budget problems.
Several thousand presidential appointees are exempt by law from being furloughed. If each one donated 20 percent of pay, it would be only a drop in the bucket compared with the billions of dollars rank-and-file workers will lose if they go to four-day weeks between October and the end of the year.
The financial plea comes from Washington lawyer G. Jerry Shaw, president of the board of the Federal Employees Education and Assistance fund. He obviously hopes the plea will raise money for the fund and perhaps lay a guilt trip on the White House and political appointees that could help settle the budget impasse between the White House and Congress.
Members of Congress -- who are equally at fault in the budget impasse -- are also exempt from furloughs. The budget summit group, made up of White House officials and congressional leaders, gets back to work this week after a month-long recess. Its last meeting was Aug. 3.
The fund is one of many components of the Combined Federal Campaign. It is the government's big annual in-house fund-raiser. The assistance fund was intended to be an employee-helps-employee program, but donations haven't kept pace with the demand for loans, emergency grants and scholarship help from federal workers.
Unless the budget summit group can agree on a spending plan for the coming fiscal year, most agencies will have to make automatic 32 percent cuts in spending. For many, that would require furloughs and curtailed operations.
In a letter to the president, Shaw said that the furloughs would mean missed mortgage and credit card payments for workers. He expects that the employee assistance fund would be hit hard by requests for emergency checks. Shaw asked the president to make a "strong recommendation" that appointees give to the fund during furloughs. We'll let you know when the money starts to roll in!
George Washington University's contemporary executive training program will run from Oct. 2 to Nov. 7. Many agencies send fast-track executives to it. GWU is also beginning an eight-week development program Sept. 17 for mid-level executives. For details, call Diana Del Vecchio Tuesday at 994-5200.
For the 12-month period ending in August, the stock and bond market options of the federal thrift investment program fell behind the Treasury securities investment option. Generally, the stock and bond market options show higher returns. But in the past year the C-Fund (stocks) had an annualized rate of return of 6.31 percent. The F-Fund (bonds) had a 5.92 percent rate of return, while the G-Fund (Treasury securities) was a respectable 8.63 percent.