Starting this year, most members of the Senior Executive Service -- who just got 18 percent to 25 percent pay raises -- must survive a recertification process or get bounced out of their $87,000 to $108,300 per year jobs.

Put another way, if you secretly enjoy watching the boss squirm, 1991 could be a fun year.

Agencies will develop their own recertification plans based on guidelines issued Friday by the Office of Personnel Management. Anyone in the SES for three or more years must be recertified this year, and every three years thereafter.

Most recertifications will be done in conjunction with, but separate from, annual performance reviews. They could start as early as May or June.

To stay in the SES and qualify for raises, executives must get top marks for attaining organizational goals, taking initiatives to advance a major policy, delivering a quality product on schedule, making significant technical or professional contributions, achieving substantial savings while maintaining high quality and providing strong leadership to enhance the development of subordinates.

Anyone conditionally recertified could face a pay cut. Those who fail to receive recertification will be bounced from the SES, back to Grade 15 (with no immediate pay cut), or allowed to take optional or early retirement without the penalty for leaving under age 55. Although failure wouldn't exactly mean the firing squad, it would be a personal and professional blow, and effectively banish that individual forever from the fast track.

The rules and raises were negotiated by OPM, the White House and the Senior Executive Association, which represents most career executives. SEA's G. Jerry Shaw said the new rules are "pretty darn fair," but he said the House Civil Service Subcommittee has promised to monitor how agencies handle the recertification process and review each agency's recertification plan. 1991 Annual Leave Chart

Space permitting, we will run the calendar-style leave chart here on Thursday. Please clip and save it. Reprints will not be available from The Washington Post.

Political War Chest

Members of the American Postal Workers Union donated $800,120 to the union's committee on political action. None of the funds came from regular union dues, and all the money is supposed to be used to help congressional and presidential candidates who get the union's support.

Political Appointees

Pentagon officials Susan J. Crawford and Clark Wurzberger and White House associate personnel director Jose Martinez will talk about where political appointees come from at a Tuesday luncheon sponsored by Women in Defense at the National Airport Holiday Inn. For reservations, call Nan Plank tomorrow at 703-685-5300.

Moonlighting/Daylighting

The Ethics Reform Act bans federal workers from being paid for off-duty writing and speaking. But some employees say the real problem is co-workers who sell real estate, cosmetics and cemetery plots from their federal offices. Check this space tomorrow.