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Their proposal to do so had been thoroughly aired in committee hearings without raising and public outcry. Their argument sounded logical: To enable the Government to compete with private industry and get capable men for public service, Congress had to raise their salaries.
Why shouldn't the elected representatives of the people, men and women chosen to run the Government of the United States, be paid at a corresponding rate, and more, than the people who work in the various departments under them?
Once a rollcall vote was demanded, however, many Members didn't want to put themselves on record as voting themselves such a large increase in an election year. Their opponents would be sure to make it a campaign issue, and many voters might fall for their demagogery.
But Members of the House have to run for reelection every 2 years anyway. That is why they go along for years without getting an increase as they vote pay raises for other Government employees.
In our opinion, the laborer should be worthy of his hire, and we believe most Americans would prefer to think Members of Congress were worth more than men holding lesser jobs both in Government and private industry. And got it.
[From the Morning Advocate, Baton Rouge, La., Mar. 25, 1964),
LOGIC ON THE SUBJECT OF FEDERAL PAY RATES The Federal pay raise bill was defeated for the reason that most Members of the House of Representatives simply did not have the nerve to vote themselves a substantial pay increase in an election year. So, when Representative H. R. Gross, Republican, of Iowa, demanded a rollcall vote, the pay raise measure, which might have passed on any other kind of vote, went down. With it went the proposed $10,000 a year increase for Representatives, Senators, Federal judges, and Cabinet members, the $450 a year boost for letter carriers and others, and the 3-percent raise for the lowest paid civil service workers
There were strong arguments against the bill as it came before the House, one being that it was topheavy with large pay raises for those already the best paid, and another being that it was ill timed from the viewpoint of the election and of President Johnson's economy drive. But the fact remains that this time, as in the past, much of what was said and written on the subject was shortsighted and ill considered. A case can be made for better pay for many Government workers.
Governmental pay rates in the lower brackets, especially, are badly out of line, and on the low side, not the high side. The mailmen, among many others, deserve a pay raise. Higher pay for stenographers and clerical workers would be a lifesaver for many governmental agencies, enabling them to find and keep a higher percentage of more competent employees instead of serving, as many of them do, as training schools and way stations for youngsters and other workers interested only in moving to jobs in industry and business after they have acquired a little experience.
The same thing is true of pay for State and many other civil service employees. Salaries are lower than in business and industry for comparable work. Raises are small and infrequent, advancement and recognition sometimes are almost impossible.
As for the salaries of those in the higher echelons, it must be said that if the Government wants to get and keep topnotch people and surely it is hard to argue that the Government should want any other kind-it is going to have to pay something approximating what these same people would make in business or industry for the same work. The logic of that seems incontrovertible.
[From the La Porte (Ind.) Herald-Argus, Mar. 23, 1964]
SALARY MEASURE There is new legislation in the House which would furnish pay raises for a million and a half or so Federal employees, all of whom saw their chances for more money go down the drain when the House on March 12 defeated on a rollcall vote the pay increase measure which included higher salaries for Congress
men. The new measure, embodying a number of compromises and carrying no pay hikes for Senators and Representatives, should be enacted in some form.
The reasons are several, as President Johnson outlined in a letter the other day to Speaker McCormack in the House. The Chief Executive argues that the Federal Government must compete in employing competence with industry, business, education, research agencies, foundations, and private professions. These areas of employment attract the est brains and most able individuals because they pay well; Government because it does not meet the salary scales of these other areas finds itself increasingly hard pressed to engage and retain competent people.
Contrary to what may be common impression, Federal employment is not increasing as rapidly as private and State and local government employment. During the past decade while the Nation's population arose 17 percent and nongovernment employment ascended by 10 percent, Federal civil employees increased by only 7 percent. In State and local governments the percentage of increase was 65. Granted there are overstaffed bureaucracies in some Federal Government areas and that there could be sizable trimmings without any loss of effectiveness, still the need for the best brains at the top and in the higher levels of Federal functioning is much more pressing today than ever.
In trying to make his program for greater economy work, President Johnson wrote, “I need first-class managers who can tighten organizations, simplify procedures, trim waste, and inspire maximum effort. It is false economy to offer salaries that will attract the mediocre but repel the talented.” And so it is.
In other words, Congress should come to embrace the principle that comparable pay must be the Federal Government's policy in employment; comparable pay is the necessary competence and ability to operate an increasingly complex Government is to be induced and retained.
And for those individuals who insist that Federal Government is getting too big and too costly, a reminder: There are now 13 Federal employees for every 1,000 Americans and 10 years ago the proportion was 14 for every 1,000. And as the President suggests, if more able people are hired the way is open for still further reduction of the ratio.
[From the Minneapolis Morning Tribune, Apr, 13, 1964]
NEW LIFE FOR FEDERAL PAY INCREASES
President Johnson feels that it is false economy to pay less than adequate salaries to those holding posts of great responsibility and we agree with him. Perhaps, with a little pushing from the White House, we may see many salary inequities corrected at this session.
There is a chance that this Congress will pass a pay increase bill after all. The House defeated one such bill last month, fearing that the inclusion of a $10,000 pay increase for Members of Congress might have harmful political repercussions. The new measure which the House Civil Service Committee is working on would drop this increase to $7,500. It would also provide that the raise would not become effective until next January 1, so that voters would have a chance to react to the bill in the November elections.
There will be other changes in the revised bill which will provide pay increases for some 1,700,000 Federal employees. One of its chief objectives is to render administrative and policymaking jobs more attractive by making the salaries paid more comparable to those in private industry. This is important if the Federal Government is to recruit and retain men and women of high competence,
[From the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press, May 2, 1964]
PAY HIKE DESERVED
WASHINGTON.--A number of pretty able public servants have recently announced their intention of leaving Government service and taking jobs with private industry. They all gave the same reason for their change of employment. Money.
To the average person sitting on the sidelines, Government pay doesn't seem so bad. As a matter of fact, looking over the Government salary schedules, the average guy would probably mutter "I should have it so good" and he'll wonder
how in the name of blazes people can go broke on the salaries they command down here in Washington.
The economics of Government service do not fall into the normal pattern. When a man or woman assumes a middle echelon or higher post, he or she assumes with it responsibilities which are not subsidized by the Government. An assistant secretary of a large Government department simply cannot live any old place.
He must have a decent house, for entertainment will of necessity be one of the more important functions of his job. He does not command the expense account which he might have were he in private industry. The entertainment of foreigners or of interested Congressmen and Senators or of people from out of town comes out of his own pocket. Over the course of a year, those expenses mount up and come to a considerable sum of money.
It's easy to say, well in that case just don't entertain. But Washington doesn't work that way. The Government servant's constituency is the people of the United States and he must take care of them. He doesn't have to cater to every Tom, Dick, and Harry but there are an awful lot of Tom, Dick, and Harrys who expect him to go out of their way for him. Knowing this he buys them a lunch or a drink or takes them to dinner and Uncle Sam won't on the majority of the occasions pick up the tab.
Far too many of the higher officials must for one reason or another maintain two residences. They don't expect to live here in Washington forever, so they keep a toehold in the town or city from which they came.
This naturally increases their cost of living. Some don't absolutely have to have two residences, but in the case of most Congressmen and Senators it is a necessity.
Some don't know whether to move their families here or to keep them in their home States. The net result is that far too many of them are financially strained because they are in one way or another supporting two households.
Many a neophyte has eyed Washington salaries and has come here believing that he was about to raise his standard of living only to find that he was worse off than before he joined the Government. The Government servant has to look decent, his clothes cannot be threadbare; if he has a job above a certain level, he must have a tuxedo and when he accepts invitations to other people's houses he is expected to return the invitation. He can't live in the boondocks and the fringe requirements of his job keep nibbling away at his basic pay envelope.
Too many good men are feeling the pinch and are finding that a few years in Washington have left them with invaluable experience, but with savings accounts gone and a nice hefty debt. It would be best if the Federal pay raise bill be passed. Congressmen and Senators should not be leery of raising their own pay. Any reasonable man knows that they need the extra money.
[From the Scranton (Pa.) Tribune, Apr. 21, 1964)
UNDERPAID PUBLIC SERVANTS Whenever someone musters enough courage to say the Nation should pay important governmental officials a salary commensurate with their responsibility, ability, and income they could earn in private enterprise he risks the wrath of all who believe that people in government are overpaid. But a real problem exists and if a few top administrators should resign their positions for financial reasons the weakness would receive dramatic emphasis.
According to one Washington estimate, there are at least a dozen high level Federal officials in the Capital today who are talking of quitting because they can't maintain their families on their income. Men in the $20,000 to $25,000 bracket, who hold positions ranging from deputy assistant secretaryships to Cabinet offices, are particularly affected.
It is said that Dean Rusk, Secretary of State, has lost $150,000 in earnings in 3 years and is having difficulty on his $25,000 a year salary. He may resign after the November election. Walter W. Heller, chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, is described as being in a bind. Trying to maintain two households, one in Washington and one at home in Minnesota, while putting three children through college, takes careful management on a $20,500 a year salary.
The Undersecretary of Labor, John F. Henning, who earns $22.500 a year, figures he needs all of that and more. He has seven children lined up for the
costly course through college. The cases outlined are not exceptional, but reflect a situation disturbing to President Johnson, who is asking Congress to grant pay increases of up to $10,000 a year to ease the burden on this class of public servant.
The average person finds it difficult to believe that relatively well-salaried men would have trouble making ends meet, but that is precisely the case. Prestige, power, and the feeling of doing public service go with the Washington jobs, but they will not put a son or daughter through school. Also, the positions require that one dress well, do his share of entertaining, contribute liberally to charities and $100-a-plate political dinners and otherwise meet expenditures which eat up a salary rapidly.
Mr. KEATING. I would like, Mr. Chairman, to have inserted in the record a letter from Andrew J. Biemiller, director, Department of Legislation of the American Federation of Labor, in which he calls attention to the need for a pay raise, and in which he quotes the fact that Mr. Meany, who sat on the Randall committee, is strongly in favor and has believed that this report proves that such an increase is necessary.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Biemiller's letter will be placed in the record
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR
Washington, D.C., May 13, 1964.
DEAR SENATOR JOHNSTON: should like to take this opportunity to urge the Senate Post Office and Civil Service Committee, of which you are the chairman, to take early action on legislation to raise the basic compensation of Federal classified and postal employees and of Federal executives.
Federal pay legislation is legislation to which President Johnson has assigned a high priority for action at this session of the Congress. As you know, President Meany was a member of the Randall commission and signed the unanimous report of that commission which recommended basic revisions in the pay schedules for Federal executives, Members of Congress, and the judiciary. In our view, a further general readjustment of Federal pay schedules is also necessary at this time.
The hearings presently being conducted before your committee are not restricted within the framework of any particular bill or bills to raise Federal employee salaries. We have had occasion, however, to consider H.R. 11049, introduced by Representative James Morrison, of Louisiana, which has been reported favorably by the House Post Office and Civil Service Committee. Since this bill will, if passed by the House of Representatives, come before the Senate Post Office and Civil Service Committee, we would like to indicate here our position with respect to it.
Although we favor larger increases in pay for Federal executives, Members of Congress, and the judiciary than are provided for in H.R. 11049, the AFL-CIO supports the basic provisions of this bill. Salary increases provided for under existing law are already outdated, and legislation along the lines of H.R. 11049, with such changes as we suggest, should receive early action by the Congress.
We should like to call the attention of the committee to the apparently inadvertent omission of the Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Seryice from the list of Federal executives to whom level III of the Federal executive salary for which the recommended annual rate of basic compensation would be $29,000 would be made applicable. We believe this omission is inadvertent since the bill would apply level III of the Federal executive salary schedule to the Chairman of the National Mediation Board, an agency which provides mediation and conciliation service in labor disputes affecting railroads and airlines and the unions in these industries and the Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, as I am sure you know, provides mediation and conciliation service, and makes a vailable a panel of arbitrators, to deal with labor disputes in industry
generally, other than railroads and airlines. In our view, this omission should be corrected, and level III of the Federal executive salary schedule should be made applicable to the Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
We appreciate very much this opportunity to express our views on this very necessary and desirable legislation. Sincerely yours,
ANDREW J. BIEMILLER,
Director, Department of Legislation. Mr. KEATING. I would also like to file a statement by John Griner, the president of the AFGE, which recommends a couple of changes in the legislation, and Mr. Griner would like to address himself briefly to these changes. The statement is a little bit more detailed, and he will explain just why he feels that these changes are necessary.
Mr. Griner's statement has to do with two amendments that his organization, the American Federation of Technical Engineers, is submitting.
The other people who are appearing with me this morning would also like the right to file a statement.
The CHAIRMAN. We will be glad to have anyone that wishes to file a statement.
The statement of Mr. Griner will be inserted in the record at this point.
(The prepared statement is as follows:) STATEMENT OF JOHN F. GRINER ON BEHALF OF THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GovERNMENT EMPLOYEES AND THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TECHNICAL ENGINEERS
This statement is presented to convey to the members of this committee the viewpoint of the American Federation of Government Employees and of the American Federation of Technical Engineers, both affiliates of the AFL-CIO, with respect to the bill, H.R. 11049, a bill designed to increase salaries at all levels of the Federal and District of Columbia Governments.
The AFGE and the AFTE indorse wholeheartedly the statement submitted to this committee by the chairman of the legislative committee of the Government employees' council, with which our two organizations are affiliated. In this statement we are merely adding to the broader presentation of the representative of the GEC so as to highlight certain provisions of particular importance to our membership.
The general intent and objectives of H.R. 11049 meet the criteria of our two organizations for the groups which are affected. These criteria may be summed up in the statement that salaries should provide renumeration commensurate with the duties and responsibilities of the positions to be compensated and should, to the greatest extent practicable, be no less than the rates for similar positions in private enterprise.
The AFGE and the AFTE indorse the provision in the bill for higher salaries for Members of Congress. We indorse not only the increase of $7,500 provided in this bill, but the $10,000 raise which was in the bill previously considered by the House.
One should not lose sight of the fact that Members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives are in fact the Board of Directors of the greatest business enterprise in the world, and as such are responsble for and must authorize the expenditure of nearly $100 billion annually. Large corporations having total expenditures of far less than that amount pay considerably higher salaries to the persons who direct their operations.
Similarly we believe that there is equal justification for raising the compensation paid the members of our Federal courts, as well as the heads of the Federal departments and agencies, their immediate assistants, and others in responsible executive positions.
The bill 11049 provides many benefits to many persons, but it has some weaknesses and certain objectionable features which we believe should be called to the attention of this committee.