Revenge-seeking U.S. workers who join efforts to kill an upcoming 25 percent congressional pay raise will shoot themselves in the wallet, according to the group that represents top career executives.
Special raises for members of the Senior Executive Service and Grade 16 through 18 employees are part of the congressional pay raise package. The increases would be in addition to the 3.5 percent raise scheduled for rank-and-file government workers in January.
Many federal workers are angry at Congress and the White House because of the on-again, off-again furlough threats triggered by the failure to approve a new budget. Furloughs would mean 20 percent to 40 percent pay cuts for employees.
Some workers have suggested that one way to get members of Congress to share in the joys of deficit reduction would be to deny them raises that would take House and Senate members to $125,000 a year in 1991.
But Carol Bonosaro, president of the Senior Executives Association, says the anti-raise fight could hurt government workers and play into the hands of the anti-raise forces led by consumer advocate Ralph Nader. He opposes big raises for members of Congress.
"Federal workers . . . who lead opposition to congressional raises don't limit their venom to Congress," Bonosaro warns. "Many Americans believe federal employees enjoy excellent benefits, good pay and secure jobs and don't deserve more, if indeed they deserve what they receive already."
The congressional raise is part of the 1989 ethics law. It also includes raises of 18 percent to 25 percent for senior executives. Most of the 8,000 SES members work in the Washington area.
If the January raises go into effect, SES Executive Schedule (ES) 1 would go to $87,000. ES 2 would be $91,200; ES 3, $95,300; ES 4, $100,500; ES 5, $104,600; and ES 6, $108,300.
Grade 16 would have a pay range of $71,883 to $89,270. GS 17 pay would range from $82,554 to $93,562. GS 18 would go to a flat $96,756.
Bonosaro, of the Senior Executives Association, said federal employees should "judge the peformance of individual members of Congress at the polls . . . focusing on the pay raise is not the place to do it." Lump-Sum Extension?
Rep. Richard Ray (D-Ga.) wants the House Post Office and Civil Service Committee to extend the lump-sum pension option through the end of the year. The committee must make major dollar cuts in federal benefits. Insiders think it will go with an earlier budget summit proposal that would eliminate the lump-sum option as of Nov. 1.
Ray represents Warner Robins Air Force Base, which has 15,000 civilians. It is part of the Air Force Logistic Command, which has requested permission to offer early retirement to employees in November. Because of the confusion over the status of lump-sum payments, the committee -- if it decides to eliminate that benefit -- will be under pressure to extend the deadline so that employees have time to decide what to do.