Many of Washington's 360,000 U.S. government workers are annoyed at the White House for excluding them from special 8 percent cost-of-living raises given federal employees in New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Diet-sized paychecks lead to diet-sized pensions, as one of our Monday morning quarterbacks points out. This is what some people are saying:I was shocked to read in your column that geographic pay adjustments given workers in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles is considered as base pay. How inequitable can things get?

What happens when two federal workers at the same grade both retire . . . and the one from New York City has extra income from both his retirement check and his thrift savings plan account . . . while the retiree from a job in Washington or Philadelphia or Baltimore gets a smaller pension and has a smaller TSP account?

If there is a need for regional allowances, they should not be counted as base pay. I am retired and will not be affected by this . . . but I feel this unfair situation should be corrected. I will be helping pay their higher pension.

Janet Rasmussen

Falls Church

I assume that the 8 percent pay differential . . . means employees in those cities will get higher annuities. I also assume it means they will be able to contribute more money to their tax-deferred thrift savings plan accounts than those of us in Washington. I don't begrudge them the raises. However, I think it is unfair (and very unwise from a morale standpoint) to exclude the Washington area.



In view of the substantial (18 to 25 percent) pay raises for members of the Senior Executive Service, I believe one of their unique benefits needs to be reviewed. Unlike other federal workers, the SES is allowed to accumulate unlimited annual leave and cash-in upon leaving government. Leave days are compensated at current salary rates. An SESer making $108,000 per year would get over $400 for each day of unused annual leave. If that person had 10 years of unused leave (260 days) he or she could get a lump-sum $100,000 payment when they leave or retire. This "perk" is an optional yearly bonus in addition to $20,000 bonuses (for meritorious service) SES members can get yearly.

The question is whether the new SES pay levels adequately compensate members. If so, the rationale for the "perk" is invalid and should be eliminated. How is this justified when other federal workers received a 4.1 percent raise?



Day after day I read in the Post how Governors {William} Donald Schaefer and {L.} Douglas Wilder and Mayor Sharon Pratt Dixon are facing such monumental budget deficits that early-retirement is automatically included as one of the solutions.

While the federal government's situation is even worse, even without including Desert Storm and the cost of the savings and loan crisis, nothing is ever mentioned about this option. Sometimes it seems as if I am involved in an "out-of-body experience." I realize this topic is well worn but, just like bad breath, it won't go away.


Silver Spring