Politics and Your 2011 Pay Raise

Tuesday - 4/27/2010, 4:00am EDT

The low-ball 1.4 percent pay raise proposed for federal-military personnel in 2011 is one of the lowest proposed by the White House in a long time. The good and bad news...

It's not a done deal.

But even though Congress plans to deny itself a pay raise next year (members didn't get an increase in 2010 either), feds are almost sure to get one. But the final amount of the raise for white collar feds and members of the uniformed military is not chiseled in stone. Especially this year.

Officials have said the low raise is based on what's going on in the private sector, and the very low rate of inflation. But as always, that's only part of the story.

The state of the economy, inflation (or the lack of it) will play a major part as will (can you believe it?) both internal and external politics.

This is an election year. Many nervous-for-good-reason incumbents will be running against Washington in general and the bureaucracy in particular. Their job is made easier by repeated national news stories about overpaid feds and more recently the porn-watching habits of some Securities and Exchange Commission watchdogs who weren't watching what they are paid to monitor.

Internally the 1.4 percent raise proposed by the president could be a bargaining chip. You may remember, all of the federal and postal unions supported then-Sen. Obama's successful bid for the presidency.

Although they've won major concessions (the rollback of the National Security Personnel System) and major benefit improvements last year, that was then and this is now. The administration is planning a massive you-ain't-seen-nothing-yet reform of the civil service. It involves the ways feds are hired, promoted, paid, punished. It could include an overhaul of the classification system and perhaps even speedy in-house trials for workers and bosses who don't measure up. For a sneak preview, click here.

Food Drive

On Saturday, May 8th, your mailman/woman will be picking up as well as delivering. Each year the National Association of Letter Carriers sponsors a Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. The postal folks pick up canned (and nonperishable items) food donated by patrons. All you (we) need do is get the stuff ready, put it in a bag and leave it by the mailbox.

Medicare & The FEHBP

Earlier this month we reported on a medicare sub-option that will be made available to Medicare-eligible retirees or their survivors under the FEHBP program. The watchdog National Active and Retired Federal Employees association backs the new option and has urged members to study it carefully. So what's in it for you?

Financial planner Ed Zurndorfer believes that retirees should take a long, hard look at the new program before they sign up. For his analysis, click here.

The SES: Who Needs It?

For many career feds, making it into the Senior Executive Service is THE goal. SES members have clout, prestige and they pay isn't bad. But is that good enough? The Senior Executives Association says many outstanding GS 14 and 15 feds don't think moving up to the SES is a good career move. Tomorrow at 10 a.m. on our Your Turn with Mike Causey radio show, SEA President Carol Bonosaro talks about the good, bad and ugly side of being a top fed.

To reach me: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com


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