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OPM Director Berry furious over federal pay editorial

OPM Director Berry furious over federal pay editorial

OPM Director John Berry

Dorothy Ramienski | Internet Editor | FederalNewsRadio

March 15, 2010

The editorial also brings up federal salaries. As Federal News Radio told you on The Daily Debrief, a recent article in USA Today compared salaries of federal employees to their counterparts in the private sector and found that, on average, feds make more.

Berry said he doesn’t think the salary comparison was fair and that The Washington Times referenced a report from the CATO Institute, which he thinks has an anti-government slant.

“All of the facts are comparing the wrong things. I thought Director Orszag’s statements this week were directly on point. [Orszag] is a professional economist. He’s a heck of a lot smarter than I am. He said very clearly, when education and age are held constant, the entire difference in the average pay between the federal and private sector absolutely disappears.”

He said that he thinks that some of the anger against the federal government and federal employees stems from the fact that many are facing difficult times across the country right now.

He added that he wants to set the record straight — federal employees are hard workers and very generous people.

“Over $6 billion has been raised through the Combined Federal Campaign. It’s an incredible example. It’s the largest workplace charitable giving effort in the world. It shows you that federal employees are big-hearted people. They are working hard. They’re working hard to serve our country, to serve our nation and to serve their neighbors.”

See the original at FederalNewsRadio.com


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  • Larry_butler_front__2__max50

    sambo1

    over 3 years ago

    1084 comments

    Berry has every right to be angry. I work for the DoD and our job is very demanding.

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    ssgrock

    about 4 years ago

    4 comments

    It is very presumptuous to imply that all federal employees do nothing, in fact I find it insulting. As in any sector today, we have our slackers, and it is a little more difficult to get rid of them than it is in the private sector. Pretty simple really, find a way to efficiently and FAIRLY assess and release the slackers.

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    ceb0894

    about 4 years ago

    6 comments

    I am ceb0894 would like to clarify to the comment that I "reaffirmed their view point that a federal employee once they pass the probation period it is impossible to let them go before retirement regardless of their performance because of the federal employment laws." as I said before if I was in a private sector 38 years ago I would have been fired more than once because of the unexpected problems, beyond my control that a private sector would not cared or had to allow me to stay. I am a hard worker regardless if, I worked in a private sector or for the federal government. Personally, I have never worked in my 38 years in a private sector so I do not know if they would have cared enough. It was not the federal laws that sustain me thru out my difficult times and still have a job and obtain several awards and promotions it is because of the Grace of God. Over the years in working with DOD and OPM agencies, I have seen many HARD Working FEDERAL EMPLOYEES who were underpaid for their sacrifices and dedications for the federal government service. It has not be a joke for me to be where I am in federal government because of the federal government laws it is because I earned it from working horded and dedication. My intent previously mentioned was to express gratitude and express how honor I am to be a federal government employee and lastly to APPLAUDED MR. BERRY FOR STANDING UP FOR THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES! Haters of Federal Employee fail to realize the people they may have seen as lofters or taking advantage of the opportunity to work for the government because of federal government laws and that it is tough to get rid of them is one of the biggest Myths of all time. In this day of age of high time unemployment and competition of College graduate with PHD who are seeking employment with the government do you really think these people can continue to abuse the government system because they cannot be fired is one of the biggest fool to believe that. In my last 5 to 6 six years, I have been seeing more federal employees with five to over 20 years not forced to resign but actually fired. So trust and believe me I know and seen this for myself. The haters of federal employee also maybe getting upset because of the flexibility given to federal government employees has now than 38 years ago and think they are overpaid again do not realize that flexibility to an employee are the best method to get a job done. People are surprised to see the flexibility but do not look at the finish product. federal government now are harder to gain employment now than years ago because of the competition with college graduates with Master and PhD degrees seeking immediate employment and of course they are hired quicker than an average person. However, you asked those who have to start at the entry level with a degree are they overpaid whereas they could have made much more money in the private sector with their degree with a great dental plan that the federal government employee does not have compare to working in the private sector. Therefore, Haters give these hard federal government employees more respect than what you are doing now because in my 38 years with the government they deserve it and I witness for myself to including me. Overall government employees are hard workers and are making a lot of sacrifices and this is no cherry picking statement. Again my hats off to Mr. Berry for standing on his ground for the federal hard working employee! Thank you again Mr. Berry for understanding, believing in us and for given us the flexibility to trust us to complete the goal set before us.

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    PMatt77

    about 4 years ago

    2 comments

    As a GS in DOD and former military member, there's a decent amount of slackers in both the civil service and military. Some people do the minimum to get by and aren't committed - its a fact of life. However a large percentage of the GS workforce work hard everyday, uncompensated overtime in many cases and don;t quit until the job is done. I support a mechanism for removing the slackers but its not an overwhelming problem in my viewpoint.

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    ICTT

    about 4 years ago

    4 comments

    ceb0894 wrote: " I have been employed over 38 years with the government and I thank God that i have. If i was in a private sector I would have been fired more than once because of the unusual sitution and unpleasant experiences arised."

    Thank you ceb for reaffirming my point. Once a federal employee passes their probation period, it is almost impossible to let them go before retirement, regardless of their performance. Because of the federal employment laws, this creates an environment not based on overall performance, such as in the private sector, but based on who they know and how long they have been in the "system". The only unfortunate thing for U.S. taxpayers, is that our taxes pay these exorbitant wages for most individuals who are not held responsible for their work performance. If the federal government was a "for profit" agency, this would change.

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    gkhan100

    about 4 years ago

    6 comments

    ceb0894 wrote "If you see people lofting or taking breaks you don't know how much work has been accomplished before they took a break."
    True. But not a lot of work can be accomplished with 1/2-hour smoke breaks Every hour. This is a common theme & joke at the Census Bureau in Washington DC.

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    lilfrannymil

    about 4 years ago

    4 comments

    Instead of being envious of federal employees pass the exam it ain't easy. I gave 36 years to civil service and beleive me I worked my B---- Off! I am proud to have been a civil service employee.

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    ceb0894

    about 4 years ago

    6 comments

    the people who knock the federal employees are the ones who does not work for the government or have some type of envy against the federal government. I have been employed over 38 years with the government and I thank God that i have. If i was in a private sector I would have been fired more than once because of the unusual sitution and unpleasant experiences arised. I became a better employee because of the understanding and law for the federal government employees had to protect them as opposed if I was in the private sector. THANK YOU SOOO VERY MUCH MR.BERRY FOR STANDiNG UP FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES. Thank God for given me an opportunity to be a federal employee. If you look and check employment hiring process. It is twice as hard to get into the federal sector than it was 38 years ago. If you see people lofting or taking breaks you don't know how much work has been accomplished before they took a break. Their production figures and error rate can tell you about the employee not just observing without comment about somebody you do not know or the whole story.Stop Hating on Federal Employees!

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    ICTT

    about 4 years ago

    4 comments

    I agree with gkhan. The current federal employment workforce is very inefficient. In my experience as a former federal worker and also as former military working with federal workers, I found that the majority do just the minimum amount of work to get by. In fact, when I did work in the federal sector, it was discouraged if you tried to go beyond your normal duties.

    The primary reason for this, in my opinion, is that once a federal employee is past the "probationary" period, it takes a lot of administrative action to fire them or even lay them off, regardless of how inefficient their work is. Once the employee is past this period, they are essentially "locked in" until retirement.

    Since the federal system is a "not for profit" agency, the worker performance output is not really monitored like in the normal market, where an inefficient worker costs the company profits.

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    gkhan100

    about 4 years ago

    6 comments

    Btw, if feds actually make more than their counterparts in private industry, WE SHOULD BE PROUD OF THIS.
    This is a good thing, not a bad thing. I don't know why Barry or federal employees would shun this.

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    gkhan100

    about 4 years ago

    6 comments

    Both Berry and the Washington Times "cherry-picked" evidence for a useless & dumb argument. Berry looks even worse with his cherry-picking examples for the past.

    I'm an American and I'll be the first to call Berry out. We all know the truth. Most, not all, but most federal employees work inefficiently, are very slow, and some do sit around all day. (You don't need to go far to see this. Go visit your local post office. Its a shame to see how SLOW people move).

    I worked at the Census Bureau for a year. No one did anything there that was worth much, I saw more federal employees take smoke breaks than do actual work. I quit because it was an embarrassment.

    Here is a solution, Berry:Trim the fat from the federal employees, make performance measurements, actually FIRE people, and then use our tax dollars efficiently to increase the pay-grade of federal employees. People will be happy to work as federal employees even though they know they could get fired.

    Follow the examples of the NYC police department and the Singapore Federal government. They both pay their employees extremely well. As a result you have the best of the best clamoring to get positions, not senior employees who are experts at smoke breaks.

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    jarobn

    about 4 years ago

    2 comments

    Thank you John Berry. I am a hard working Federal employee and make an average salary. I am definetly not overpaid for what I do and the expertise 23 years provides. I have never received a bonus in those 23 years, where many of my counterparts in the private sector have enjoyed thousands of dollars in bonus pay. I don't get profit sharing (profit in government - not so much), forbidden to take client gifts, and cannot engage in partisan politics. There are no corporate parties, retreats, or afternoon golf games. Public service is just that - its a service and there are sacrifices. Try walking in our shoes before you critisize.

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    patgidd

    about 4 years ago

    2 comments

    Thanks Director Berry for sticking up for us!

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