Many federal workers who moonlight as writers have worked out deals that appear to sidestep the honoraria ban that went into effect Jan. 1. Only a few months ago it was feared that the ban would halt thousands of after-hours writers and lecturers.

Some publications have given U.S. government workers letters stating that they are regular part timers or contractors rather than freelancers who sometimes receive payment, or honoraria. Some federal legal officers have told employees how to word the agreements with non-federal employers, to move themselves out of the forbidden honoraria zone.

Congress seems intent on excluding federal workers from the ban, which carries a $10,000 fine for violations. The ban was originally aimed at Congress, and proposed changes got a hearing yesterday before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. Today the House Judiciary Committee takes it up.

Meanwhile, employees who thought their second careers were over continue to write or talk on subjects from antiques and aerobics to dog training and martial arts.

A few are openly defying the ban -- ironically by writing articles denouncing it. Hardly anyone expects the government to punish moonlighters unless Congress says that is really what it intended.


National Defense Transportation Association's Feb. 27 luncheon is at Hogate's. Navy brass will talk about the logistics of Operation Desert Storm. Call 703-756-1859.

The Joint Financial Management Improvement Program's March 18 conference will be at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. Speakers include Treasury Secretary Nicholas F. Brady and Office of Personnel Management Director Constance B. Newman. For details call 202-447-7124.

Society of Government Meeting Planners' national conference is March 7-10 in Seattle. SGMP has 22 chapters. Its Capital Chapter will meet Feb. 20 at the Capitol Holiday Inn. Call Ed Heitov at 202-504-2024.


Public Employees Roundtable is taking nominations for its excellence in public service awards. It will honor outstanding federal, state and local government workers in May. Call 202-535-4324.

National Association of Retired Federal Employees Virginia federation is sponsoring an essay contest for Virginia high school seniors. Essays must be on the role of the civil service in government. Prizes of $500, $300 and $200 will be awarded. For details call Donald W. MacCloskey at 703-281-0319.

Blue-Collar Pay Limit

Sen. Claiborne Pell (D-R.I.) and Rep. George J. Hochbrueckner (D-N.Y.) want to remove limits that Congress put on blue-collar federal pay. Salaries of the half-million skilled craft employees are supposed to be linked to hometown private industry pay. But in recent years they've been given the same pay raise (4.1 percent this year) as white-collar federal workers.

The American Federation of Government Employees wants the pay lid removed. It says blue-collar federal pay averages 10 percent less than private industry wages.