- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 26, 2002

Diversity. Diversity. Diversity.
The Bush administration has continued President Clinton's diversity hiring program.
Last year, the government hired 12,310 new, non-postal employees. Of that number 9,490, or 77 percent, were minorities, mostly Hispanics, black and women, in that order, according to the Federal Equal Opportunity Recruitment Program's database.
Those numbers have implications for feds especially minorities seeking promotions or looking for transfers to more glamorous or better-paying locations and agencies.
Currently, the program is focusing on hiring Hispanics, the most underrepresented group in government, based on their percentage of the federal work force versus their percentage in the national labor force.
"First, there is an equity issue. They are truly underrepresented in every agency except Justice, and most of them are with the INS on the Texas, Arizona, California border," a federal official associated with the Clinton administration's diversity program explained.
"Secondly, it's political. The Democrats know they have the black vote, Republicans know it, too … but Hispanics" basically remain up for grabs.
Black workers, according to the government, are "fully" or overrepresented in most federal agencies. Whites earn more than Hispanics, who earn more than blacks. Women earn less than men, according to data from the Office of Personnel Management.

Catch 62
If you served in the military after 1956 and plan to combine your military service time with your civil service time (to boost your federal civilian annuity considerably), then be sure you understand how Catch 62 works.
If you don't buy credit for that military service time (usually by paying a total of 7 percent of your military salary to the civil service retirement fund), then you will lose those years and all the extra annuity when you become eligible for Social Security at age 62.
Failure to do it right could mean your federal civilian annuity will drop 50 percent or more at age 62. It's totally avoidable, but you must avoid it.
Forty two percent of all male civil servants have some kind of military service most after 1956. Check with your agency human resources office (and the Office of Personnel Management Web site at https://www.opm.gov/fers_election/facts/ri83-2.htm).

Pay raise
The Bush administration has handed federal unions a major issue over which to battle one it doesn't expect to (and probably shouldn't) win.
The issue is military versus civilian pay.
At the urging of the Office of Management and Budget, the White House proposed a 2.6 percent civilian raise next January, 63 percent less than the 4.1 percent raise proposed for military personnel.
Pro-Democratic federal unions see it as a winnable political issue-from-heaven. And it gives them a chance to poke the president without seeming to be unpatriotic or politically partisan.
Odds are Congress will give civilians something like if not the exact amount what military personnel get. Maybe after throwing in a second-stage military raise just for good measure.

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