I read with anger The Post's front-page article "Furlough Warnings Dispatched" {Aug. 16} and feel compelled to respond as a federal employee.

Mr. Bush spends hundreds of thousands of dollars of our money to flit back and forth to Kennebunkport, yet we federal workers may be expected to reduce our salaries by as much as 40 percent a pay period?

If Mr. Bush seriously expects Americans to believe he is concerned about the budget, wouldn't it be reasonable for him to make sacrifices? He could make weekends at Camp David and one Kennebunkport vacation a year suffice, especially now during the Persian Gulf crisis. The Bush administration spends and wastes more money than furloughing any federal employees and taking salaries from them can save.

At the U.S. Department of Agriculture, our long-time division chief was displaced by three Schedule C political appointees -- a director, deputy director and assistant director. USDA, among other agencies, is running rampant with lower-level -- not Cabinet-level -- Schedule C political appointees.

These people were given these appointments generally because of some role they played in the Bush campaign. And why did they work on the campaign? It appears that they were assured of securing "cushy" government jobs. Never, in 23 years of federal service, have I seen so many unnecessary jobs created. Is it any wonder that I'm frustrated to learn we won't be able to afford training, equipment or professional conferences, but that we can afford to pay tremendous salaries to the people who helped George Bush get elected?

If Mr. Bush wants to improve the budget, he should begin at home. Relieve us of this overkill of political appointees, or at least take them to the White House, where they belong. Who knows? They just might be willing to volunteer their services -- like before the election, remember?

Somehow I doubt it.


As a new government employee, I'd like to give a bit of advice to those who are planning to send me a furlough notice. The advice is, go ahead and do it, but be prepared to face the consequences for decades to come.

Like myself, all of my co-workers are newly minted graduates who represent some of the best colleges in the United States: Williams, Wellesley, Wesleyan. Each of us excelled academically in college. Most of us are here because our jobs are interesting and worthwhile. Primarily we are here because we believe we're doing a good thing. We are not here for the money; I know that because every one of us could make more money elsewhere, tomorrow, if we wished.

We do not, however, work for free, and the job security ordinarily offered by the government is more than adequate compensation for the relatively low salaries we receive. I'm willing to work for less money than I could make elsewhere only because the government offers this security. The bottom line is that the government must offer one or the other, job security or high salaries, if it wants to retain high-quality public servants.

If any one of us is furloughed, we will walk because we are well-educated, talented, well-connected and very marketable. And when the time comes, good luck finding people as good as us because we're pretty rare workeres to begin with, and we become especially scarce if you have nothing to offer to us.

So wake up, guys. Most people with options, and believe me, we have options, will choose a career that is low-paying only if it is interesting, satisfying and secure. If the government gives the impression that its lower-paid positions are as radically insecure as jobs in the private sector, then not many talented people will work for the government. The financial risks to the workers will simply be too great. The quality of government services will inevitably decline, and everyone will be hurt.

This is America, and we can sell our labor to just about anyone, and you, the labor purchaser, will only get what you pay for.