Job Security & Election Day

Thursday - 9/16/2010, 4:00am EDT

Some of the first beneficiaries of a new government-wide fast-track civil service hiring system may be politically-appointed congressional staffers. Many will wake up Nov. 4 to find out they are soon to be unemployed.

The stated purpose of the administration-ordered streamlining is to speed up the notification and hiring process while protecting the merit system. And, as the president has said, to "make working for the government cool again."

Also, Uncle Sam is hiring!!!

The government is taking back tens of thousands of jobs that were outsourced to the private sector by the Clinton and Bush administrations.

There has long been a revolving door relationship between politically super-charged Capitol Hill and "downtown" - federal agencies overwhelmingly staffed by career civil servants.

Mostly the traffic is one way from Capitol Hill to downtown which can mean Federal Triangle, the Pentagon, or other agencies scattered around the city.

Some congressional staffers burn-out after years of 12 to 18 hour days six days a week. Others want the stability of a career federal job where their talents, honed in the offices of Senators and Representatives or on oversight and budgetary committees, are appreciated. Some suddenly find that after the election, they need a job.

And much as they long for, boast about and support God's country (the place from whence they came,) you couldn't dynamite them out of DC.

All important things like health insurance coverage, retirement benefits and 401(k) options readily transfer from the legislative to the executive branch.

Normally in mid-term elections relatively few House or Senate incumbents lose. But this time, if media predictions pan out, lots of people who work for a member of Congress may be looking for jobs with a December or January start date to keep those paychecks flowing. There are roughly 5,800 who work in the offices of 435 House members. The 100 U.S. Senators have about 3,400 personal employees.

But as Politico pointed out earlier this week, the biggest turnover comes among workers assigned to the scores of committees in the House and Senate. When one party goes from minority to majority status, it inherits nearly 65 percent of the jobs on each committee.

LegiStorm which has the best info available on congressional jobs and salaries (which can be hard for the layman to figure out) estimates that 1,000 of the 1,500 House committee jobs - from Government Reform and Oversight to Armed Services and Appropriations - are held by Democrats. But if the Republicans take the House that ratio would be reversed in the new Congress which convenes in January. In a worst-case scenario (for those Democratic staffers) as many as 1,000 of them could be looking for work after the election.

A GOP takeover of the Senate is considered less likely by most people. But as one 40-something Senate committee staffer said "the Castle thing in Delaware has been a real jolt." The "thing" is this: In Tuesday's primary in Delaware, Christine O'Donnell, a tea-party backed candidate the experts dismissed, won the Republican primary. She defeated 18-year House veteran Michael N. Castle and will be the GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate.

The Delaware situation was complicated by the fact that Democrats had expected Beau Biden, Delaware's popular attorney general (and Iraq veteran and son of the vice president) to run for the Senate. He decided in January not to make the run. But complications in other House and Senate races make this a very tough election to call.

To reach me: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com


Nearly Useless Factoid
by Suzanne Kubota

The number one nuisance for spacewalkers is fingernail trauma and other hand injuries, according to NationalGeographicNews


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