Feds have become 'easy pickings' for Congress, FMA says

Wednesday - 2/29/2012, 9:23pm EST

Your Turn with Mike Causey

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The attacks on federal pay and benefits on Capitol Hill are partly due to the fact that Congress sees federal employees as bureaucrats and not constituents, Jessica Klement, legislative director for the Federal Managers Association, told Mike Causey on this week's Your Turn radio show.

"One member of Congress actually said to one of the federal employee groups, 'I don't have any federal employees in my district.' That is the mindset in Congress. This is how ignorant they are to what federal employees do, where they even live...Of course he has federal employees in his district. Every congressional district does," said Klement.

FMA is holding a conference March 11 to 14 that culminates on the last day with a lobbying day on the Hill.

Federal employees must tell legislators "why the damaging proposal they're putting forward are in fact damaging," Klement said.

Klement added that one reason federal employees are "easy pickings" is because lawmakers don't understand what feds do, making it easier to propose higher contributions for retirement or changing feds' retirement annuity formula.

A bill in the House — H.R. 3813 — could eliminate the FERS minimum supplement, which is paid to qualifying employees who retire prior to age 62 and therefore before they are eligible to receive social security. Klement said the elimination of this supplement could deter employees from taking buyouts and early retirements.

"Where is the incentive to take [an early out] if you're a FERS employee under the age of 62?" Klement said.

In the first half of the show, Mike spoke with Federal Times Senior Writer Stephen Losey about efforts to downsize the Postal Service and proposed changes to federal pay and benefits.

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