- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 18, 2001

Money isn't everything. That's a healthy thought.
To say salary is the least-important aspect of your job, however, indicates you are on a very strict diet, don't date much or live in a climate-controlled pod in your parent's basement.
You don't care what you're paid? Says who?
According to some of the nation's finest think tanks and research organizations, workers prioritize job satisfaction over salary.
That finding is OK as long as important people, like those who compensate you, don't pay too much attention to such claims. Unfortunately, it is being talked about by some of the government's top officials all of whom make six-figure salaries.
One of the popular new job satisfaction studies comes from the Corporate Leadership Council. It indicates that salary the thing you use to pay your rent, buy your groceries and afford your kids' shoes is less important than having training opportunities, feeling good about your work, working with a great boss and just about everything else.
If your boss believes that and disregards data showing federal workers still trail the private sector by up to 30 percent in salary, feds will be in for another annual series of skimpy, Clintonlike pay raises.
Question: Who says money doesn't count? Are they asking Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts, who've got theirs and can now concentrate on art, or Joe the GS 7, who likes Cleveland Park but has to live 110 minutes from his office?
If the money-doesn't-count crowd wins the day, your next pay raise will come in the form of an overcrowded day care center (or you with no kids), a supply of bottled water, two new bike racks out front and new suggestion boxes on every floor.

High-tech pay
Last January, 30,000 federal computer specialists, engineers and scientists in grades 7 through 12 got pay raises, which (with the January 2001 adjustment) were worth 7 to 30 percent.
At the time the raises were OK'd, the economy was booming and private firms were luring top talent with the promise of moderate salaries and big-potential stock options. Many people thought Uncle Sam would come through with similar raises for some 33,000 higher-grade IT personnel this year or in early 2002.
Don't hold your breath. And don't quit your federal job.
But since the economy took a nose dive and the stock deals disappeared, federal employment is looking good especially to many of the former dot.com people who have learned that when purchased outside a group plan, health insurance can run $400 to $700 per month.
Government insiders expect that some IT personnel, in some jobs in some agencies, may be in for bonuses, or even special-rate pay status. But they predict it will be on an agency-by-agency basis, and not (as it did for the lucky 30,000) on a government-wide basis.

Frequent flyer tax?
The good news is that federal and military personnel next year will be able to keep and use mileage points earned on official government travel. And the benefit is retroactive if you can find your mileage award coupons.
The bad news is that the benefit might be taxed. As one fed said, "This would be typical: The government giving you something with one hand while the other goes into your pocket "

December retirees
Feds who plan to retire this month in hopes of getting the 3.6 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) that took effect December 1 (payable in January 2002 annuity checks) are out of luck.
That's because COLA's are pro-rated. To qualify for the retiree COLA, one must have been retired during the period covered.
To get the full 2002 COLA under the Civil Service Retirement System, individuals must have been retired on or before December 2000. Feds who retired in March of this year, for example, will get a 2 percent COLA in January 2002. Those who retired in July will get 1.3 percent, and September retirees will get 0.7 percent. And so on. Those who retire this month will have to wait until January 2003 for their next and first COLA.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide