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Federal Employees News Digest : Sept. 24, 2012
INSIGHT by Mike Causey continued from page 1 Kristi Dougherty General Manager Phil Piemonte Managing Editor Sherkiya Wedgeworth Online Managing Editor Becky Fenton Circulation Manager Nathan Abse Writer Mike Causey Columnist Edward Zurndorfer Columnist Published by 1105 Government Information Group, Anne Armstrong, President. 1105 Government Information Group is part of 1105 Media, Inc. Neal Vitale, CEO. Corporate Headquarters: 1105 Media, Inc. 9201 Oakdale Ave., Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311 www.1105media.com Office: 8609 Westwood Center Drive, Suite 500 Vienna, VA 22182-2215 Phone: Editorial: (703) 891-8554 Subscriptions: (800) 989-3363 Fax: (703) 876-5130 Internet: www.FederalDaily.com Subscription Rates: 1 year---$99 Site Licenses are available: E-mail: FENDsitelicense@ FederalDaily.com For single article reprints (in minimum quantities of 250-500), e-prints, plaques and posters contact: PARS International Phone: (212) 221-9595 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.magreprints.com/QuickQuote.asp The Comptroller General has ruled that federal agen- cies and departments may buy Federal Employees News Digest publications with government funds. This decision is No. B-185591. Federal Tax ID 20-4583700. DUNS #612031414. FEDERAL EMPLOYEES NEWS DIGEST (ISSN 1065-0970) is published weekly except first week in January and last week in December by 1105 Media, Inc., 9201 Oakdale Avenue, Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311. Annual subscription rate is: US $99. Subscription inquiries and customer service: Mail to: Federal Employees News Digest, PO Box 15428, N. Hollywood, CA 91615-5428, customerservice@feder- aldaily.com or call (800) 989-3363, fax (818) 487-4550. © Copyright 2012 by 1105 Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproductions inwhole or part prohibited except by written permission. Mail requests to "Permissions Editor," c/o Federal Employees News Digest, 8609 Westwood Center Drive, Suite 500, Vienna, VA 22182-2215 or editor@ federaldaily.com. The information in this newsletter has not undergone any formal testing by 1105 Media, Inc. and is dis- tributed without any warranty expressed or implied. Implementation or use of any information contained herein is the reader's sole responsibility. While the information has been reviewed for accuracy, there is no guarantee that the same or similar results may be achieved in all environments. Technical inaccuracies may result from printing errors and/or new develop- ments in the industry. This publication's subscriber list, as well as other lists from 1105 Media, Inc., is available for rental. For more information, please contact our list manager, Merit Direct. Phone: (914) 368-1000; E-mail: 1105media@ meritdirect.com; Web: www.meritdirect.com/1105. September 24, 2012 Vol. 62, No. 11 2 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com the bad reports keep rolling in. The lat- est was last week. It arrived in the form of a think-tank report which says that any way you slice it, you have shorter hours and more time off---sick leave and vacation---than your nonfederal neighbors. (Wow! Why didn't I take that GS 5 job I was offered 30 years ago? I'd be tan, rested and probably retired by now on an inflation-indexed pension. Instead, I continue to slave away over a hot keyboard.) Most people didn't see and will never read the actual reports behind any of these stories. But in this case, as in the others, lots of people read about the juicy con- clusions in the report, this one from the Heritage Foundation, in their local newspaper. Or they heard a boiled- down-to-60-seconds news item sum- marizing the much, much longer origi- nal study. The take-away (the headline, as we say in the news biz) is that federal workers, as a group, are not only over- paid and over-indulged, but now, we learn, don't even put in the time on the job that most of us private-sector types do. The latest report said you, as a fed, work a couple of hours less each week than we do. And that you have lots more time to rest and relax. Because of my job, I have amassed a collection of reports and mountains of data from congressional sources and conservative think tanks, and news- paper and wire service reports. All of them show in great detail how feds have it made in almost every sense. Better pay, shorter hours, juicier perks and benefits unknown to most Americans. The problem with the studies, it seems to me, is that the experts may have had their minds made up before they did their research. We all know that statistics can be presented or omit- ted to reach very different conclusions. Tell me what you want to say, and I will supply you with the numbers that will back your claim. An outside economist said that the pay comparisons are flawed on several levels. First, averages are often deceiv- ing. Comparing the federal government with the private sector isn't fair. The government is made up predominately of professional and administrative peo- ple. Most have had to take tests and pass background checks. Many do jobs that are virtually unique to the government. Do you want an air traffic controller or FDA drug checker who works for minimum wage? The comparisons---which show you as a fat cat---assume that the govern- ment is like the private sector when it isn't. Women and minorities in the pri- vate sector still make less because that's the way it is. In the government, your job and grade (not race or sex) define you, and fix your pay. The problem, one economist told me, is that the private sector is unfair and the government (by comparison) isn't. I work two blocks from Washington National Cathedral. It is at the highest point in D.C. You can see it from almost anywhere in the area. Two weeks ago, there were funeral services at the cathe- dral for Neil Armstrong. The first man on the Moon. Amazing guy. He also was a fighter pilot and a test pilot. When I met him years ago, it was brief. I had a million questions for him, but didn't want to waste his time. He said he had one for me. Know what it was? It was about the FEHB health insurance program. He said he had family cover- age under a certain FEHB health insur- ance plan and asked me if it was a good one. It was right around open season. I told him it was a good choice. My one minute of fame. Giving advice to the first man to walk on the moon! So how come he asked that particular question? Two reasons. First, he wanted the best deal and coverage for the family. Second, he was a federal civil servant at the time he trained for and went to the Moon. And back. I wonder if those other NASA GS 14s got overtime? Obviously they slept some on the job. I think there is a scandal here some- where.
Oct. 1, 2012