Regarding Joe Davidson’s May 24 Federal Insider column, “A ‘slap in the face’ for federal workers: Budget plan erodes retirement benefits”:
The proposed changes to the government retirement plan — adjusting the average from the highest three consecutive years of salary to the highest five to calculate the retirement benefit amount (which lowers it a little) and the suppression of cost-of-living adjustments — are poorly thought out and another case of mismanagement. The response of most rational individuals will simply be to stick around for one or two more years. The average used for the calculation will go back to what they expected it to be, and the additional savings from this extended working time will largely compensate for the lack of cost-of-living adjustments. There is no risk, because it is nearly impossible to fire anyone, and having to spend 20 more months biding time in the company of your colleagues is not a downside, especially because most have no idea what they would do with their free time anyway.
A major problem of the government workforce is that it is too old. It encourages longevity and makes it impossible for young people to join. Just ask a recent graduate to post his or her résumé on the USAJOBS website, then sit back and wait. The result is a lack of imagination, low morale and a resulting low productivity. The hiring freeze and this new misguided idea only compound the problem.
Michel Jichlinski, Chevy Chase