Gov Career

By Phil Piemonte

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Pay to play

You might have seen those stickers on parking meters in certain cities that say: “All may park. All must pay.”

Certain members of Congress have been embracing that premise and calling on federal employees to share the nation’s economic pain by accepting a pay freeze, trimmed benefits, etc.

But now one union has decided to play that game, too, and is asking lawmakers to take a closer look at the salaries of another group — those who work on Uncle Sam’s payroll as contractors.

The American Federation of Government Employees, the largest federal employee union, sent a letter May 12 to the leaders of the Senate Budget Committee that, in addition to asking lawmakers to hold off on a federal pay-freeze extension and workforce cuts, suggested that Congress instead examine the salaries of contractors.

What’s more, the union suggested that all contractors’ salaries should be held to less than $200,000 -- at least the portion of salaries paid by taxpayers.

That ain’t peanuts. But that’s about what the secretary of Defense makes, and AFGE’s premise is that none of the individuals contracted by the Defense Department and other agencies should be reimbursed for more than the top person at that agency makes.

The union put its focus on what it called “the most lavishly compensated contractors” and cited as an example the multimillion-dollar salaries it said were earned by top employees of Booz Allen Hamilton, which the union claimed “could not exist without taxpayer dollars.”

“Insisting that taxpayers should not be forced to reimburse contractors in excess of what is earned by the secretary of Defense, the secretary of State, or any of the other Cabinet secretaries is hardly draconian,” AFGE officials said in the letter.

Comments, anyone?

By the way, as long as we’re on the topic of contracts, you can check out your agency’s contract amounts at, run by government transparency advocate OMB Watch. Interesting stuff.

Posted by Phil Piemonte on May 13, 2011 at 4:02 PM

Reader comments

Tue, May 17, 2011 Another Fed

Why should contractors hired by the gov't to work at a gov't job be paid more than the gov't employees currently on the payroll? I know laborers have to be paid union wages (nothing against the unions). But I want to know why we can't use the current employees to do the work. After all, the general feeling is that we are all underworked so why not put some of the people already drawing a gov't check on the job rather than hire contractors. And if the job is more than the gov't employees on site can handle (not all gov't sites hire the same series of employees), pay the contractors the same rate as the gov't employees who could do the job. If the tax payers are funding the work, why should the contractors get paid more than gov't employees doing the same job? It's a well known fact that a fed employee can retire and come back to work for the gov't as a contractor and be paid more (double?) than the gov't wages s/he previously received. I don't call it double dipping as a retiree has earned their retirement. But to pay that much more for a new 'civilian' to do the same work is out of line. Pay the same wage that was being paid before.

Tue, May 17, 2011

Take a look at the results of the USJFCOM disestablishment and you will see that contractors are already being asked to share the burder. Several thousand contractor positions were cut but not one single government civilian was laid off.

Mon, May 16, 2011

I think they should recognize that Congress, the Senate, and the President are all civil servants. Make them abide by all the same laws that they make us abide by. Including having to have the same benefits, no more, no less.

Mon, May 16, 2011 Eugene Bossie San Diego

I’m a retired Federal employee and I am effected by the “5 year freeze,” six years if you count the year frozen by OPM. This is not a freeze, it’s a pay cut (about $1,200) each year this “freeze” is in effect. Did they not take this into consideration that each year they freeze our pay we still have to pay the increase in the cost of health insurance, life insurance and all other cost that’s are increased on an annual basis. ARE THEY THAT STUPID?
Am I the only one that sees it this way? By the end of the pay freeze I will have had a pay cut of about $7,200.00, all other factors remaining the same (health insurance increases, etc.). By the end of these “pay freezes” my wife and I are going to be homeless and living on the street. Is this what they are trying to do? Is this why I put 24 years of my life working for
P.S. This also affects Social Security, Medicare, etc.

Mon, May 16, 2011

What about the salaries of Congress and the House? Shouldnt they also have to give up something to lighten the burden to the States? I think if EVERYONE, includeing our folks in the Pentagon, White House and all associated therewith, had to live by they same laws and restrictions ect as us "mortals" we'd be in a totally different situation today. Make all the corporations that take their business outside of the US pay a healthy tarrif to import the products back in to the Country. People will stop buying the product because it would be to expensive? Though, then they'll buy more products from those company who stayed home and settled for a smaller profit margin. Also,I Instead of continuing to bail out private industry our Government should be paying back, with interest, all the Social Security funds they "borrowed" over the years. SS would be around for a long time to come.

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