- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 16, 2002

Would you rather have advanced training or a pay raise? Obviously, the answer depends on a number of things, including your age, career field and financial needs.
The Office of Personnel Management has decided that the promise of training is essential to recruiting the top-notch people Uncle Sam wants and needs. Director Kay Coles James said training would be the No. 1 priority.
But she could be talking to the wrong people. A dozen feds all college graduates beginning or in midcareer said they would like more money.
"Training seems to go to people who are either favorites of the bosses or to people who can be spared from their jobs. It seems as if if you do your job well but quietly you are overlooked That being the case," one 33-year computer scientist said, "I'll take the money."
Another employee made a point that all high-paid officials should remember. She said: "It's easy to say that money isn't the issue when you are making over $100,000 and have a spouse who is probably making that much or more. It's quite another thing if you earn $59,000 a year, have a child and want to live decently in the Washington, D.C., area."

Fighting terrorism
Federal workers who are literally on the domestic front line in the war against terrorism are doing what they get paid to do their jobs, without panic.
It's reassuring yet remarkable considering what many of them know. For example, among the grim facts of life involved in helping the nation prevent, minimize or rebound from future attacks is this one:
Plans to designate RFK Stadium in Washington as a temporary morgue that could hold 10,000 bodies. Officials say the site is good because of its location, size and the fact that helicopters could take off and land on the open field.
That's just one of hundreds of contingency plans that federal agencies are working on as part of Homeland Security.
In the process the government expects to hire (and upgrade the pay and status of) many new computer engineers, specialists and scientists to meet increased information and intelligence needs. This is likely to cause the government to consider giving special pay rate status to information technology professionals in Grades 13 and above who didn't get the badly needed recruitment and retention pay status when subordinates did two years ago.
At a special homeland security symposium last week sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, key officials said the challenge is to safeguard government computer systems, make agency communications compatable with each other and exchange intelligence within established and vetted need-to-know circles.

Long-term care
Long before the federal long-term-care program was designed, officials estimated that between 600,000 and 800,000 people (out of 20 million eligibles) would actually buy it. As it turns out, about 750,000 have signed up for the special newsletter about the program.
To contact a long-term care specialist call 1 800-582-3337.
To read OPM Director Kay Coles James' explanation of the program, published in The Washington Times, go to https://www.opm.gov/news/dircorner/2002/KCJ-April3.htm

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