Gov Career

By Phil Piemonte

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Take a parting shot in 2010…

As we finish up 2010—and our first year of this blog—we’ve gotten a good measure of what the members of federal workforce think about a pretty broad range of issues.

Over the past year, some members of the media and Congress have counted on the general public’s stereotypical perception of government employees to help them sell agendas that squeeze the federal workforce. (Think “faceless bureaucrats.”)

But any non-fed reader of this blog will quickly see that you are as diverse—economically, socially, and politically—as any other part of the population.

So, in hopes of stirring up more of those diverse opinions you’ve offered over the past months, here’s one last question for the year:

Out of all the changes (emanating from Congress and the Administration) that have affected the federal workforce over the past year, which single one stands out as the most significant one affecting your own federal career?

Looking forward to your answers ...

Posted by Phil Piemonte on Dec 21, 2010 at 4:02 PM

Reader comments

Mon, Jan 3, 2011 Nancy TX

If this country really wanted to get out of debt all we have to do is STOP all foreign aid for 4 years and put this country first. A pay freeze is just not going to do it. We need to concern ourselves with USA first and the hell with everyone else for the next 4 years and then go back to humanitarian aid and support when needed.
We would be out of debt and back in control.

Tue, Dec 28, 2010 Disgusted 36 Yr Fed Dallas

Obviously one of the biggies is the pay freeze. Six Congressmen (all from Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware) sought to block the pay freeze on the grounds that it was unfair to single out Federal employee pay unless it was part of an overall solution for the Federal Deficit. I agree. I've seen it happen at the State and Local level. In the City of Dallas that has become 8 unpaid, mandatory personal days per year. That is no way to treat your employees. There has been some discussion of implementing such a plan at the Federal level.

That brings up another thing concerning the "meat axe" approach. For those at the top of the Federal pay scale it makes some sense and quite frankly if its needed, its needed (BTW Congress did vote to freeze Congressional pay for 2010 and 2011 back in 2009). However, for those just entering Federal service it is devastating and may push those we are relying on to carry on the work of government into the working poor or out of Federal service altogether. Whether government or private industry, there is a distinct (and significant) cost to hiring and training a new employee. This money is completely wasted if we can't retain good employees.

This is all at a time when Congress has shown it still hasn't learned the lessons (Republican or Democrat). I was in D.C. two weeks ago and religously listen to C-SPAN radio when I'm there. The debate regarding the budget and items in the budget was enlightening and disgusting.

One item that particularly disgusted me was the aid we are giving to China. China has one of the largest economies in the world, has (through cheap labor) cost hundred of thousands of American jobs, has one of the most robust economies in the world, and (with Japan) holds over 1/2 of the U.S. debt. So why (if I remember my numbers correctly) are we giving them $300M a year for poverty eradication?

I have absolutely nothing against China, but why are we GIVING money to our largest creditor nation to help the poor in their country? This at a time when we are debating whether or not to give the unemployed of this country a few more weeks of unemployment compensation.

It's not a partisan thing, its a governance thing. The art of governance is the art of compromise. Neither party has a lock on "right." If one side claims that the other won't work with them it is as much their fault as it is the other side.

For all of the bashing that goes on concerning President Obama, it is interesting to note that he consistently polls higher than Congress. Shouldn't that tell everyone something?

Tue, Dec 28, 2010

The NSPS roll-back, the pay freeze, the COLA freeze all tells me that, while government work is work worth doing, and I am glad to have the opportunity to serve, it is evident that my future lies elsewhere. While it is believed that government work is more secure, it is also subject to the whim of Congress. I must ask myself, just what am I working for?

Mon, Dec 27, 2010

I saw the little blurb from the editor saying that the House and the Senate did not vote themselves a raise. How noble! They still have better health insurance and retirement than the rest of us federal employees. And, they are still WASTING millions of dollars on those earmarks that they refuse to give up, not to mention making the rich pay the correct amount of taxes they should. They should also give up the use of free mail, transportation and other perks they gain as members of congress. WE ARE ALL PUBLIC SERVANTS, AS SHOULD BE BETTER STEWARDS OF THE NATION'S MONEY.

Mon, Dec 27, 2010 Washington DC

The most significant event to affect me this year was the transition from NSPS back to GS. Under NSPS I still had room for growth in my pay band. But under the transition I was converted back to the same GS rating I was before, where I was maxed out at Step 10, and therefore am unlikely to ever again see a pay increase for the remainder of my federal career. Yet - I am grateful for my job and grateful for the security and benefits it offers. Granted, the job security is due to the fact that I am doing the work of two people, but still, better to work 45-50 hours a week than to worry about how I am going to pay my mortgage.

The lack of respect for federal service, however, is starting to demoralize me. Federal employees are being made out to be scapegoats. Everyone I work with here at the Department of the Army is working long hours supporting our troops at war. I love the Army and what I do for our Soldiers is valuable and worthwhile, but sometimes I'm almost reluctant to admit I work for the federal government. Most people have no idea how "lean" some departments have had to get due to budget cuts. I take my laptop with me on vacation just to stay on top of the workload.

But again, I am grateful to be employed, grateful for the men and women in the Army, and grateful to be living in the U.S.

Happy New Year All.

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