A number of groups representing top federal employes think bureaucrats are getting a bum rap, and have decided to try to do something about it.

Today they are announcing the formation of the Public Employes Roundtable, a coalition of 17 federal professional and manager groups that represent 200,000 employes.

"I don't think there's any doubt that the government employe is maligned and often viewed in an unfavorable light," said Blair Childs, a spokesman for the Senior Executives Association, one of the groups involved. "But our nation has succeeded because of the contributions of both public employes and private employes. . . . Public employes need to be understood for what they can do and what they contribute."

The coalition hopes to raise money to mount a public relations campaign to improve the image of government employes through ads and a speaker's bureau, Childs said. It plans to hold a major event on the Mall next spring and hopes to get congressional approval for a public employes appreciation day Jan. 17, in connection with the 100th anniversary of the Civil Service System in the United States.

Among others, the roundtable includes the Federal Executive and Professional Association, Federal Managers Association, the National Association of Postmasters of the U.S., the American Society of Public Administration, the National Society of Professional Engineers in Government and Federally Employed Women. Childs said it hopes to expand efforts to the state and local level later.