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Eye Opener: Scott Brown blasted by federal union

By Ed O'Keefe


Sen.-elect Scott Brown (R-Mass.) during a recent trip to Capitol Hill. (Melina Mara/Post)

Eye Opener

Updated 8:18 a.m. ET

Happy Wednesday! One of the largest federal worker unions blasted Sen.-elect Scott Brown (R-Mass.) in an open letter on Tuesday, accusing him of misunderstanding and misrepresenting the federal workforce in one of his first major national television interviews.

The National Treasury Employees Union, which represents more than 150,000 feds, took issue with Brown's statement during an interview on Sunday with Barbara Walters that federal employees earn twice as much as private sector workers.

Here's the exchange during ABC's "This Week" -- with emphasis added:

WALTERS: President Obama has asked for a spending freeze on almost everything except matters like the military, Social Security, and Medicare. He says he's going line by line through the budget. Now, you have said that's not enough for you; that you want to cut spending and not just freeze it. So what are the first 3 items that you would cut?
BROWN: The problem with what the president said is he's not doing it until 2011. We need to do it immediately. We need to put a freeze on federal hires and federal raises because, as you know, federal employees are making twice as much as their private counterparts.

"Comparing salaries of federal employees and private sector employees is not an apples-to-apples comparison," NTEU President Collen M. Kelley wrote in her letter to Brown. "The only appropriate way to make a fair pay comparison is to compare similar jobs with one another. The federal workforce is a white collar, highly-educated workforce, consisting of such professionals as doctors, attorneys and scientists in virtually every discipline."

Fifty one percent of federal employees have a college degree and 20 percent hold either a Master’s or professional degree, or a doctorate, according to government statistics.

"The federal government hires lawyers to tackle corruption, security professionals to monitor our borders, doctors to care for our injured veterans, and world-class scientists to combat deadly diseases such as cancer," President Obama's fiscal 2011 budget said. "Because of these vital needs, the federal government hires a relatively highly educated workforce, resulting in higher average pay."

But what bothers Kelley and other union leaders even more is that individual job-by-job comparisons suggest federal employees are underpaid by 26 percent compared with their private sector counterparts, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act (FEPCA) was passed in an effort to close the gap, but "The disparity identified more than a decade ago...still exists," Kelley said in her letter.

"It is clear that a great many federal employees who could make more money -- and quite possibly, much more money -- in the private sector choose public service instead," Kelley said. "I hope as you become more familiar with the efforts of the men and women of the federal workforce, you will begin to see the direct connection between their day-to-day contributions to our nation and the well-being of the American public they serve so diligently."

Attempts to reach Brown through several spokespeople went unanswered. (Their comments will be added if/when they're received.) But he campaigned on the issue of freezing federal worker salaries as a way to control federal spending.

"I recognize that our federal workers do important work," Brown said at a press conference on Jan. 5. "But, it's not right that lesser-paid private sector workers suffering through a recession have to pay for expensive government salaries.

"Lavish pay and benefit packages have unfortunately become a way of life for public employees. It's time to bring fiscal sanity to Washington," he said. "I support a temporary freeze on federal wages until the Congress devises a plan to control spending and debt."

RELATED: Time for another 'War on Waste'?

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

Cabinet and Staff News: First Lady Michelle Obama escalates her obesity drive. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel apologizes for his "retard" remark. Education Secretary Arne Duncan apologizes for his Hurricane Katrina comments. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates tries to get the F-35 Project back in order. Out in the middle of Nantucket Sound, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar sees little consensus on a controversial wind project. CIA Director Leon Panetta and other officials say Al Qaeda will attack the U.S. in the next three to six months. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says Toyota was slow to fix problems with its gas pedals. U.S. Attorney Jim Letten has recused himself from the case against four conservative activists arrested for allegedly interfering with phones in Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office.

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY:
Children of dead CIA officers try to learn about their work: As the agency's earliest generation of Cold Warriors fades away from old age or disease, grown children who might have known only that their parents were in the agency are stumbling upon letters and other records that fill holes in their family's narrative.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT:
Officials' testimony urges lifting of 'don't ask, don't tell' policy: But in testimony, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said a working group would take the rest of this year to review the various issues involved in a repeal and produce an "implementation plan" containing its findings and recommendations.

Mullen deserves medal for Senate testimony backing open military service by gays: The Post's Dana Milbank (Washington) sketches his approval of the top military commander's testimony.

Earth religions get worship area at Air Force Academy: A double circle of stones atop a hill on the campus near Colorado Springs has been designated for Pagans, Wiccans, Druids and other Earth-centered believers, which previously met indoors.

FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION:
Airliner bombing suspect is providing FBI with intelligence: Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has been providing the agency's interrogators with useful intelligence about his training and contacts since last week.

Inquiry into FBI raid that killed cleric: The Justice Department has opened an investigation into a raid near Detroit last fall that left a Muslim prayer leader dead with 21 gunshot wounds.

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION:
FTC budget request would add 40 new staffers: The approximately 7.6 percent increase would support the hiring of 17 new folks in the competition bureau, among others.

GOVERNMENT WORK/LIFE/OPERATIONS:
Budget calls for larger acquisition workforce: The spending plan allocates $158 million for an initiative to improve the capacity and capabilities of the civilian agency acquisition workforce, building on a similar initiative at the Defense Department.

Strategy for stepping up veterans hiring focuses on training, outreach: The Office of Personnel Management's new plan emphasizes training, coordination, marketing and the inclusion of military spouses in hiring initiatives.

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY:
Suit points to guest worker program flaws: Immigration authorities worked closely with a marine oil-rig company in Mississippi to discourage protests by temporary guest workers from India over their job conditions, including advising managers to send some workers back to India.

Delays prompt White House to propose deep cut in secure border initiative: The White House asked for $574.2 million for the Secure Border Initiative, a cut of 28 percent from the $800 million fiscal 2010 budget.

INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE:
Tax court: Mass. woman can deduct sex change: Rhiannon O'Donnabhain, who was born male, sued the IRS in 2007 because it would not allow a $5,000 deduction for $25,000 in medical expenses for the gender-reassignment surgery.

NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION:
NHTSA examines possible electronic interference with accelerators: The scrutiny comes in the wake of numerous complaints filed with the agency concerning the unintended acceleration of cars made by Toyota.

NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE:
Intelligence chief says cyber threat is growing: The decision by Dennis Blair to begin his annual Congressional testimony with the cyber threat points up the concerns among American intelligence officials about the potentially devastating consequences of a coordinated attack on the nation’s technology apparatus.

NATIONAL NUCLEAR SECURITY ADMINISTRATION:
Obama budget seeks 13.4 percent increase for National Nuclear Security Administration: The request could help reduce opposition to a new strategic arms control treaty with Russia.

STATE DEPARTMENT:
USAID official: Emergency assistance still hasn't reached many Haitians: Administrator Rajiv Shah said the relief effort has escalated in recent days and will continue to do so.

U.S., Russia close in on nuclear treaty: The deal, which was widely expected, would bring down deployed nuclear warheads and sharply limit the number of missiles and bombers that can deliver them.

Who's paying for Haiti?: Foggy Bottom and the White House are busily working on a new request for supplemental funding to cover the near and immediate term costs for Haiti relief.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | February 3, 2010; 5:15 AM ET
Categories:  Congress, Eye Opener, Workplace Issues  
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Comments

January 18, 2010: Federal workers have day off with pay. February 15, 2010: Federal workers will have day off with pay. When a business is in financial trouble, one does not give employees the day off with pay.

Posted by: michaelp2 | February 3, 2010 6:15 AM | Report abuse

Here we go again. With that Utah congressman jumping on this bandwagon and now Brown the federal workforce is once again becoming a republican target. I love how the shift from Wall Street to Pennsylvania Ave.
Most of federal employees are professionals. We used to have clerks, secretaries, police, cooks, custodial etc. to figure in the equation. They're no longer civil servants.
Compare our professionals to the private sector's professionals and give us a fair shake.

Posted by: EdinPhilly | February 3, 2010 7:05 AM | Report abuse

michaelp2 - that is so asinine. Should July 4th not be a federal holiday because of "financial trouble"? Christmas? Veteran's Day? Memorial Day?
Grow up.

Posted by: TJ1743 | February 3, 2010 7:36 AM | Report abuse

Republicans are happiest when people are working for the lowest wages possible.

Posted by: bdunn1 | February 3, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Apparently, Brown isn't capable of distinquishing Rightist rhetoric from Reality.


Posted by: angie12106 | February 3, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

michaelp2 - Apparently when a business is in financial trouble it turns to the taxpayers for a bailout and than hands out $175 million in bonuses to its private sector employees. Federal employees get 10 paid holidays a year. My wife is private sector and gets the exact same, although they're not the same days. She also has better benefits and received a bigger raise than I did for each of the past 5 years and will likely do the same next year if the current 1.4% proposed raised is used.
Attacking federal employees because they have job security and receive relatively low, but consistent raises in a down economy is fun and easy. Unfortunately, few people take the actually time to compare the entire picture. How did the raises compare to private sector when the economy was booming? How many federal employees have actually been fired for poor performance compared to the private sector? What does a private sector attorney make compared to a government attorney? If you work really hard in government, what is the most you can aspire to make (President $400k/year, Supreme Court Justice $220k/yr, Senator $165 k/yr)? How about private sector (Bill Gates $5.5 Billion/year, Oprah $260 Million/yr)? Go to the sky boxes at any stadium, the most expenses neighborhoods, or the most expensive vacation destinations and let me know how many people used their government salaries to get there.

Posted by: justanotherguy | February 3, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse

this is the kind of article that drives me crazy about The Post.You report Scott Brown's comments and the reply by the Federal Employee's Union but do no research to give us the real facts. Are there flaws with the study the union cited, is Scott Brown obviously wrong or is there information out there that could legitimately lead to his conclusions? Instead you take the easy way out by attempting to get reactions from Brown and the Union
neither will probably tell you the truth without spinning it, find out the facts for us in an objective manner! Instead this is the equivalent of a TV sound bite

Posted by: hoover2 | February 3, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

My bro was an auditor with all the big 3 accounting firms since he graduated from college back in the mid 80's.

He recently took a job with IG for an executive branch agency for a little job security during the Obama Great Socialist Revolution Depression. He is GS14 step 10 he took a $35K cut in base pay, gets less leave, pays more for his health insurance and his end of the year bonus as a Fed is 15% of his previous average bonus over the last 10 years.

Hey Hoover2 do you really want intell analysts, FBI agents, auditors, and security specialists working for $40k. I don't. How much does Sean Hannity, Rush and that dimwit Neil Cavuto make. & figures at least. Do Neal and Sean have any real special skills? No they should be making $40k too.

Feds in professional positions are drastically underpaid compared to their colleagues working for SAIC. NHA, and Lockheed. Or hell for the State of California.

Posted by: sheepherder | February 3, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

waaaaaaah. Can you tell this is a company town? Far, far removed from reality...

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | February 3, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Obama has increased the federal work-force to the largest size in history. No issue with the individuals, but we need to cut the number of federal workers across the board. Just can not afford them without bankrupting the country.

Posted by: JCM-51 | February 3, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Way to go Massachussetts, you have successfully seated yet another 18th century mind in the US Senate. What a gem.

Posted by: dem4life1 | February 3, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

The federal employee has an extremely high pay and benefit package for the average employee. They have a retirement system that is mostly paid for by the public and it is way out of line with industry. You never see congress borrowing money from the federal system as they belong to it, they always borrow from social security and when they repay it is never with interest. Do not ever expect anyone outside the beltway to believe you are underpaid, just the opposite. Every fed employee I have had to deal with acts as it is a great hardship to help you. I feel we should eliminate a minimum of 40% of the federal workforce as they and the local government employees pay and retirements are going to cause extreme hardships on the average citizen very soon. Want an example look at California for a state with serious financial problems because of their high pay and retirement packages for state employees, and homeland security as a federal example. When homeland was separate departments it was more able to do the job even with the rivalry between the different agency's, now you have Napolanto screwing up everything. Typical of the government.

Posted by: paulb6 | February 3, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

He's ignorant, and wrong. He has the numbers backwards. It's more like if I chose to work in the private sector I'd earn twice as much as I do now.

It's just a fact that if you work for the government directly you're not going to make as much money as you would in business.

Will he issue a correction however? Noooo, probably he'll keep spouting this lie to stoke anger in his party.

Posted by: Nymous | February 3, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Sure they make twice as much or more, because most of the private sector is unemployed!

Posted by: connerabr | February 3, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

How much has to go on before we can call his "mistake" a "flat out lie"?

Posted by: Nymous | February 3, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

From 1982 to 1990, the non-military federal workforce grew from 2,770,000 to 3,067,000. The federal workforce declined until 2002, when it began once again to rise. HMMM! What do these two periods have in common?

As to pay and benefits -- Most individuals take pay cuts to go to work for the Federal government, including the President, his cabinet, and pretty much all of Congress. My son took a nearly 50% cut. His pay and benefits were much higher in the private sector. Other than those that have never worked in the private sector, I find this to be more the case than not.

BTW, liberal leave means they have to use their leave time. It is the same as taking a vacation day or personal time in the private sector.

Posted by: vmi98mom | February 3, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

"Lavish pay and benfits package"? He must be confusing us with employees of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We haven't been lavished since Reagan put Don Devine in charge of OPM in '81.

Posted by: hailwood1 | February 3, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

A distortion bordering on a lie right out of the gate, that's par for the GOP.

Posted by: hairguy01 | February 3, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

There are many sides to this debate and I will confine this comment to those who feel that the private sector get a short shrift when it comes to pay and benefits.

I do take issue with most Republicans who fire off campaign slogans about federal workers and unions. I also take issue with those who are too quick to criticize federal workers for being lazy and incompetent. Are there incompetent and lazy federal workers? Yes! Do some federal workers earn too much? Yes.

The same rational applies to the private sector my friends. Ever went into a store only to find no one there to assist or at best are indifferent to your presence. I'll wager that even the straw dogs that people most love to hate like the Social Security Admin and IRS do a pretty good job overall. The checks arrive on time, the refunds get made, and most Americans get a pretty good response. TSA often gets maligned for it's incompetence, but in fairness, we are travelling in comparative safety.

In my mind, there are comparisons, and then there are apples and oranges. This debate is like so many others and seems to imply that there is no middle ground. Lets try be fair and accept that by in large we are well served by our federal employees and the "trains do run on time."

Posted by: olddesert_rat | February 3, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

As a federal attorney I make 40% of what attorneys I graduated with 3 years ago earn. Mr. Brown, I more then willing to accept a raise to make exactly what my private sector counterparts make. With backpay, you taxpayers owe me $250,000.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | February 3, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

“-26% of federal workers have a master's, professional or doctorate degree, compared with 13% in the private sector.

-51% of federal employees have a college degree of some sort, compared with 35% in the private sector.

-They are also substantially older, and that contributes to higher pay -- 46% of federal employees are 50 or older, compared with 31% of private-sector workers.

-Job-for-job comparisons tell a completely different story. In fact, government figures indicate that federal employees are underpaid by 26% with their counterparts in similar position in the business world.

-In 1988 (Ronald Reagan) there was:
1 Federal employee for every 110 residents.
In 2008 (George Bush) there was:
1 Federal employee for every 155 residents.

How BIG is the Government again?

How OVERPAID are Federal employees?

Source:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/02/AR2010020203722_pf.html

Posted by: pleaseTHINK | February 3, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Good for Scott Brown. The Post and the Federal workforce are absolutely tone deaf. This country has 10% unemployment. People are losing their homes. The Federal workforce is expanding and getting raises. Federal employees should be acting in solidarity with the rest of the country. The Post and the federal work force should be calling for a hiring freeze and salary cut for themselves to help the country out in this time of trouble. Shame on all of you.

Posted by: jy151310 | February 3, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

if federal employees feel so abused by guaranteed lifetime employment, outstanding benefits and low salaries they have the option to go to the private sector, especially if they are in such high demand. they are welcome to join us in a time of high unemployment and market volatility, skyrocketing health insurance costs and self-funded retirements from decimated 401ks. guaranteed job security has its tradeoffs and government employment is not mandated involuntary servitude for anyone. i know. i left a tenure track academic position and then senior executive level public employment for the risks and rewards of the private sector.

Posted by: george32 | February 3, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

That is the republicans for you, they Bash the federal Employees just to turn around and Outsourced to their buddies and political contributors for 10 times the money, for less work.

Posted by: tqmek1 | February 3, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

First the federal workforce is expanding because it's getting older quick and they are trying to replace the folks as they retire. Now they are having trouble competing with the private sector in DC area because the wages are much higher with contractors.

Second, feds are trying to convert contractors to federal workers. As a private company who works with feds daily any given meeting I attend is probably 5 contractors to 1 fed. The feds do no work and they rely on the contractors who do it all.

These are two reasons for the expanding workforces. Lastly, as someone who lives and works in this area, Feds are DEFINITELY not overpaid for there positions they hold, but I don't believe many if any would hold those same career positions in the private sector. So for the skills many of these folks have one could argue they are overpaid. For the job titles they have they are not overpaid.

It's really no different than the ceo who gets paid 3 million a year. Is he worth it NO, but the companies books says he is just like the federal wage scale says what a GS 15 gets paid.

Posted by: jdb70 | February 3, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Let's have him start by cutting pay and lavish perks for the Senate and House of Representatives.

Posted by: kguith | February 3, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Sure, critics, then work for AIG they get bonuses. Most people work for government for security and as a result shun the salary. Our government is stable compared to other countries, and it's because in part to our dedicated civil servants. Scott Brown is just trying to run for President, and maybe sleep with Sariah. Tune to Fox to find out.

Posted by: anti1 | February 3, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

george32 - who's saying we feel abused? We are simply defending ourselves from the folks who make broad statements that government employees don't deserve their paychecks and should be fired. The idea that anything negative that happens in the private sector should happen to government employees only works if you do the same when things are positive (that employee discount would be nice come tax time). I took a 20% pay cut when I left private sector. I have since been moved twice, spent time in some of worst places in the world to include the Middle East and Africa, had guns pointed at me, been physically attacked, had bombs explode near me, had coworkers killed, and missed numerous holidays and family events because of emergencies. I'm not complaining about my work, but please don't tell me I don't deserve my pay or should be fired. I challenge some of the people on this board take a walk to the War Memorials on the Mall and the Law Enforcement Memorial and think about the potential cost of being a government employee.

Posted by: justanotherguy | February 3, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

"suggest federal employees are underpaid by 26 percent compared with their private sector counterparts, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. "

Here's a win-win. Fire the government employees and the taxpayers save money. The former government employees get private jobs and receive 26% pay increases.

The taxpayers save money and the government employees get a raise. :)

Posted by: win_harrington | February 3, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I left federal service for a private contractor position (supporting the federal government and actually doing less work) and as a result doubled my salary. People are dreaming if they think federal employees make more than the private sector in COMPARABLE jobs.

Posted by: dan1005 | February 3, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

The AIG bonuses are not only lavish, but obsene. Would Senator-elect Brown support a windfall tax on those bonuses? I think not. A note to knee-jerk Massachusetts voters, if you caste a popular vote, some times you get unpopular representation!

Posted by: sunrise2 | February 3, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Public Union thugs should STFU. They are nothing more than corrupt political organizations, funded by taxpayers. RICO anyone?

Posted by: pgr88 | February 3, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Not only are federal workers overpaid they are underworked. Having worked at a federal agency for 14 years as a non-federal employee, I can tell you, with first-hand experience, that a non-college educated fed worker GS 5 thru 12, is earning anywhere between $40,000-60,000/year - and that is a secretary or ordinary pencil pusher.

I don't think Scott Brown was talking about scientists, economists or other degreed professions. But, the bulk of the unionized fed workforce is overpaid and over-compensated in benefits compared with the private sector.

Posted by: marine2211 | February 3, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

But the bulk of federal government workers ARE professionals of the "scientists, economists or other degreed professions" variety. Where I work (and we are mostly policy, not research at my agency), all professionals have at least a master's degree, and many have PhD's.

The use of contractors in recent years puts a huge dent in the non-professional staff. Where I work the cafeteria, janitorial work, computer tech and training, and travel arrangements are all out-sourced.

Another factor is that federal salaries are based in part on locality pay. The Washington area - where most feds work - was recently ranked the fifth most expensive city in the US by Forbes Magazine (New York City was first). That is probably because of the lawyers, consultants and defense contractors who make up a large proportion of the private sector here. What it means is that federal salaries in DC look large to someone from elsewhere in the country. But the cost of living here is also quite high, and the salaries amount to less than they would elsewhere.

Finally, do American taxpayers really want their government staffed by people who were rejected by the private sector?

Posted by: econgrrl | February 3, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

And to think he is a lawyer by trade but has been a government employee since 2004.
How does one with that level of education come to such a broad generalization. Apparently, logic is no longer a required course for the legal profession.

Posted by: Mala10 | February 3, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

george 32 said:

if federal employees feel so abused by guaranteed lifetime employment, outstanding benefits and low salaries they have the option to go to the private sector, especially if they are in such high demand. they are welcome to join us in a time of high unemployment and market volatility, skyrocketing health insurance costs and self-funded retirements from decimated 401ks

-----------
The same thing holds true for all you private sector people who think we govt employees have it so good. Feel free to join us! Nothing is stopping you. As an atty 10 plus years out of law school I would easily be making 2 to 3 times as much in the private sector. I chose govt work and am proud of it. But don't ever intimate that I am overpaid!

Posted by: happydad3 | February 3, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Brown could not care less about a union of federal workers "blasting" him. It's not his base. In fact, it just makes him look better to conservatives.

Posted by: Sutter | February 3, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I work for a credit union and my regulator makes more money than me despite lesser credentials and skills. And lets not forget those sweet benefits and pensions.

Also, how many federal employees have been laid off compared to how many private sector employees have lost there jobs during this recession?

Posted by: isaia1 | February 3, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

This too is BS! Try adding in the hugely generous benefit packages union workers get! The very benefits that are burying our nation, and Scott Brown is generous in his opinion!!


Posted by: jjcrocket2 | February 3, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I work as a physicist at a national lab within DoD doing research to ensure the technological superiority of our armed forces. The average annual salary for a PhD level scientist in the private aerospace industry hovers around $130k based on a report I heard at a conference last year. I can guarantee you I'm not making $260k a year as a fed. If Sen-elect Brown wants to pay me that and then freeze my salary I would be all for it!

Posted by: surly4130 | February 3, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Brown is right and he should start with the senates pay roll. Cut it in half and they would still be overpaid. If "the only way that you can get people to run for office is to pay them what they could make in the private sector". I say let these people stay in the private sector because they are not doing a thing for the GOOD OF THE COUNTRY. Just what they can do for rich people who will then hire them after they are tossed out of office. When are we going to wakeup,it is not a campain contrabution its a BRIBE and he with the most money ( the briber who will just buy whom ever is elected )will always win.

Posted by: thomasbkearney | February 3, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Why do Republicans love to crap on gov't all the time? If Brown hates gov't so much then why did he run to be in it?

Everyone with a shred of brain power understands that gov't workers give up salary and benefits for stability. It's creepy that Repubs want to keep underpaying gov't workers AND make their workplace less stable at the same time.

What is wrong with these maniacs?

Posted by: theobserver4 | February 3, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

To those who want to reduce the federal workforce, please indicate which of the following you would like to sacrifice: open national parks, law enforcement, timely, accurate federal payments (think Medicare, Social Security, tax refunds, etc.), hiring contractors for state and local construction projects, anti-terrorism efforts, logistical support for military operations, domestic and foreign intelligence gatherin to counter threats from hostile countries, emergency disaster response, research for deadly diseases, payroll processors for congressmen like Scott Brown.

To those who think we're overpaid in a recession, thank whatever deity you believe in that you have top-notch professionials working to get you out of this mess.

Posted by: rosepetals64 | February 3, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

This too is BS! Try adding in the hugely generous benefit packages union workers get! The very benefits that are burying our nation, and Scott Brown is generous in his opinion!!


Posted by: jjcrocket2

------------------------------------------------------

Go soak your head ideologue. You're just not listening to those who actually work for the Feds.

Posted by: theobserver4 | February 3, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Senator Brown should set a good example by not accepting his paycheck or any benefits. He sounds like he really wants to be a volunteer civil servant.

Go ahead Brownie II, tell us you'll do it!

Posted by: streff | February 3, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: dem4life1 | February 3, 2010 8:32 AM | Way to go Massachussetts, you have successfully seated yet another 18th century mind in the US Senate. What a gem.
*****

Yes, but he won't have a full term, and he isn't as bad as a Western or Southern Republican.

At least they gave us 44 years of a Senator that fought for people and not corporations.

I think they will come to their senses when Brown finishes Senator Kennedy's term.

Posted by: brt929 | February 3, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

At least Brown showed his hand early. It is always popular to attack the Fed workforce wage base when well outside the beltway. Where did he get that "double" nonsense, and portray it as a commonly known fact? The top pay for non-SES workers is so low that there is terrible salary compression at the top and strong incentive to leave. I left six years ago and made MUCH more, not "half". What a dittohead moron. Hopefully a one-term wonder. Good go, Massachusetts. How are the Bruins doing this week?

Posted by: Zontag | February 3, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Real simple if the RepubliCONS believe this let them stop taking federal healthcare that we pay for get private insurance like the rest of us take a paycut and freeze pay. Come on Brownie you gonna take the health benefits that cost taxpayers a fortune yea I thought so

Posted by: lildg54 | February 3, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

So, I'm confused. We're in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression, with 10% unemployment, and Sen.-elect Brown (and some of these posters) wants to tell one the nation's largest employers to stop hiring?

How exactly does this fit with the Republican "where are the jobs?" rhetoric that they've been screaming at the top of their lungs all year on the House and Senate floor? Excuse me if it seems slightly hypocritical to tell anyone to impose a hiring freeze after you've been screaming about hiring for the past 12 months. One more person hired by the Fed. Gov't is one more person Republicans can stop complaining about being on unemployment.

Posted by: mmmcheesy | February 3, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

why doesn't the government just hire all of the unemployed?

Posted by: isaia1 | February 3, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

If you compare federal employees with federal contractors, federal employees are underpaid.

If you compare federal employees with wall street executives, federal employees are underpaid.

If you compare federal employees with just about anyone else, federal employees have it pretty good.

Posted by: Bill64738 | February 3, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Scott Brown is an idiot. I'd invite anyone who believes his distorted and unfactual BS to join the federal workforce--you'll see how "overpaid" we are!
And how much does he expect to save in the federal budget by trimming federal payroll? Oh right-- this is the bunch that's wanted to get rid of entire departments. Sheesh.
Spare me your stupidity, Sen. Brown, and stick to what you know: pickup trucks and posing for COSMO.

Posted by: dbitt | February 3, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Most of the comments posted in opposition to the statement by Senator Brown regarding the salaries of federal employees are by federal employees who apparently are posting their comments while at work. So the taxpayers are paying them to work the web. Some work!

Posted by: ejptx | February 3, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

If you compare federal employees with federal contractors, federal employees are underpaid.

If you compare federal employees with wall street executives, federal employees are underpaid.

If you compare federal employees with just about anyone else, federal employees have it pretty good.

Posted by: Bill64738
**************
Oh really, Bill? And who told you that?
Maybe the fact that we live and work in one of the most expensive parts of the nation is a factor, hm?
Yeah, federal employees in Washington DC might make more than someone in Ames, IA or Montgomery, AL-- but let's include the cost of living in that little equation before we talk "overpaid."

Posted by: dbitt | February 3, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Federal workers continue to be slammed by politicians who don't know the facts about pay parity. Unfortunately, this is not limited to one party.

Posted by: sterross | February 3, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

A news show is not the place to have this discussion, unless you give the topic more time. My .02 is based on 10 years with Uncle Sam, 6 years at MCI WorldCom, and now as an independent contractor. In a nutshell, most USG workers are paid less (and should be) because their jobs involve nominal risk. I was one of many that was laid off at MCI WorldCom after the shenanigans by Bernie Ebbers & Co. Private sector workers lose their jobs all the time, most of the time from factors not in their control. Contrast that with the highest USG scandal of all time, Watergate. Other than Nixon &Co., how many GS workers lost their jobs? None. You can make that point with most other scandals. No doubt there are some GS workers that do highly skilled, unique work that probably should be paid closer to their private sector counterparts. But the vast number of federal (including State, County, etc.) workers can't make that claim. A key fact is that most private sector folks are not paid as much as many assume. Had I stayed with Uncle Sam, my pay would be about 80-85% of what my private sector wage would have been--without the risk factor. This fact needs to be part of this conversation.

Posted by: DaveHagigh | February 3, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I agree, in part, with both Brown and the union. Brown is right that we are spending too much on federal employees, but he misunderstands the problem. The union is right that job-for-job, private sector employees are usually paid more than public sector employees.

One of the problems is that we have many federal employees at high pay grades (GS-12 to GS-15 and beyond [SES] making up to $160,000) who are unproductive. Since federal employees can only be removed for "for cause" and often can demand a hearing before removal, the legal and administrative burden and expense of removing lazy or insubordinate workers is usually too expensive. It turns out that "for cause" can be a surprisingly hard bar to clear. This has led to a sense of guaranteed employment security. Thus you have older workers who feel that they have "put in their time." Now they come into the office late, leave early, don't do much, and don't risk getting laid off for essentially slacking off. Many of these employees were productive at one time and have just given up. There are thousands of well-qualified, younger, cheaper workers who would be happy to take their place, but the legacy of for-cause or just-cause employment keeps these older workers in place.

By the same token, there are some younger workers who also lazy and exploit the public employment system. They ought to be laid off too (but can't). They're just not as expensive.

Unfortunately, the union and the agencies largely serves the interests of the older workers, not the younger workers (those actually doing their job). Younger promising workers can't get promoted (or hired) because the dead wood (protected by the union and employment law) are still in place, eating up FTE and federal budgets.

Posted by: keepitsimplestupid | February 3, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I come in contact with are very professional and do a great job of protecting our investment (federally dollars and do a great job of designing and implementing offensive and defensive strategy and systems that maintain the security of this nation. They tend to be paid less than their counterparts in the private sector; however, benefits and job security seem to be more stable. Republicans, like Mr. Brown, still have not forgiven the federal government for keeping the south in the union and will always continue to bash this great resource of ours. I don't pay them any mind, because I see first hand the great job these guys do.

Posted by: ILuvUS | February 3, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I work for a private sector defense company and the federal employees I come in contact with are very professional and do a great job of protecting our investment (federally dollars and do a great job of designing and implementing offensive and defensive strategy and systems that maintain the security of this nation. They tend to be paid less than their counterparts in the private sector; however, benefits and job security seem to be more stable. Republicans, like Mr. Brown, are mindless, self-serving and still have not forgiven the federal government for keeping the south in the union and will always continue to bash this great resource of ours. I don't pay them any mind, because I see first hand the great job these guys do.

Posted by: ILuvUS | February 3, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Federal employees may make 26% less than people in comparable jobs in the private sector, as the union claims, but many work 50% less. I know. I used to work for the feds. Now, if the union would accept rules making it easier to fire unproductive employees, I would commiserate more.

Posted by: Peejay | February 3, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Typical Republican: lies, lies, lies, lies,lies. No, No, No, No, No.

Thought Massachusetts voters were more intelligent than they apparently are.

Posted by: Sirius2 | February 3, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Scott Brown for pointing out what government employees do not want the taxpayers to know. The actual figure is government employees make 40% more doing the same job as the taxpayer that pays their salary.

Posted by: metroman76 | February 3, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Nothing new here. Another Republican shoots off his mouth without having the slightest idea what he's talking about.

Posted by: st50taw | February 3, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Obama has increased the federal work-force to the largest size in history. No issue with the individuals, but we need to cut the number of federal workers across the board. Just can not afford them without bankrupting the country.

Posted by: JCM-51
*******************************************
Assuming you're right (and I don't), he would just be following in Dubya's footsteps.

Posted by: st50taw | February 3, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, me too, I thought Massachusetts voters were more intelligent than they apparently are but they sent us a (Brown) whinner... Anyway, may Massachusetts state employees make more than federal gov't workers...they're more intelligent than us down here, too...

Posted by: lastyear53 | February 3, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Brown is pandering to the tea party base with populist sound bites with no basis in reality. As someone who works in the private industry but has worked in government, too, I can say he's flat-out wrong and is, as the union leadership says, failing to do an apples-to-apples comparison.

I made ~50% for the same job as a government employee as I made in the private sector. Were the benefits better? To a degree--but not to the degree to account for that much pay discrepancy.

And begrudging feds their holidays? Please. If you in private industry want a few more days off, exercise your capitalist choice in a free market economy and go work somewhere which _does_ give more paid time off. Or, *GASP*, unionize and collectively bargain for more time off.

But don't blame underpaid government workers for the economic ills of the country.

Posted by: exerda | February 3, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Public Union thugs should STFU. They are nothing more than corrupt political organizations, funded by taxpayers. RICO anyone?

Posted by: pgr88
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Listen up, schmuck...Federal employees unions have about zero influence over pay and benefits. Since you obviously didn't know that, you're the one who needs to STFU about something of which you are ignorant.

Posted by: st50taw | February 3, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

@metroman76: Care to share a few of those jobs which earn Feds 40% more than their "taxpayer" counterparts? (Last I checked, federal employees do pay taxes, too.)

The 40% figure applies, if memory serves, when you compare the _average_ federal salary to the _average_ private industry salary, regardless of position. As the union head pointed out, that is not a fair comparison.

It would be like saying, "Wow, the average Goldman-Sachs employee makes 100,000% more than the average McDonald's employee."

See how meaningless that is, and why Scott Brown making such an improperly-based comparison is somewhere between deliberate misinformation for pandering purposes and a complete out-and-out lie?

Posted by: exerda | February 3, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Scott Brown for pointing out what government employees do not want the taxpayers to know. The actual figure is government employees make 40% more doing the same job as the taxpayer that pays their salary.

Posted by: metroman76
********************************************
Talk is cheap. What is your source?

Posted by: st50taw | February 3, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

ADDENDUM:

Is that why they sent this A&&H@@E to WAshington because they believe government workers make to much money, and I thought Massachusetts voters were more intelligent...too.

Ted has to be rolling over in his grave...huh???

Posted by: lastyear53 | February 3, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Stunningly stupid comment by Brown.

It's also worth noting that many federal workers must live in very high cost of living areas.

For example, Washington DC. That $80,000 a year salary may seem like a lot to people in most of Kansas, but it's barely lower middle class in DC. And it's often being made by a person with advanced degrees and specialized training.

The idea of turning class warfare on, of all groups, your rank and file government worker is just stunningly stupid.

Posted by: Hillman1 | February 3, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

these bs artists rats/pub always test the waters to see if their statements fly.if not they back up with some disclaimer,excuse etc. forget the workers compensation,work on the hill gang and the rest of the political appointes hired off the plum book.these are the underworked,overpaid,kickback,special interest shills.

Posted by: pofinpa | February 3, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

BROWN IS THE TYPICAL A-HOLE THAT USES ANYONE AND EVERYONE TO GET HIMSELF ELECTED THEN THE FIRST THING HE DOES IS CRAP ALL OVER THE FEDERAL WORKFORCE. ENJOY IT NOW BROWN BECAUSE THE PEOPLE OF MA. WILL INSURE THAT YOU AREN"T HERE FOR A SECOND TERM.

TOO BAD YOU CAN'T CHANGE PLACES WITH TEDDY.

Posted by: gordonhamel@cox.net | February 3, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

For all of you people who feel federal workers are overpaid, here's a chart I'd like someone to post: A list of, say, 10 federal jobs and their avarage salaries; a column with what the average salary is for a comparable private-sector job, and what you think the overpaid federal worker's pay should be slashed to. Then tell me how that job will get done when that federal worker invariably leaves that job because he or she can no longer make a living on the salary the Scott Browns of this world thinks is the "right" salary.
Here's my final two cents. I know right-wingers enjoy bashing federal workers. What I have yet to see from a conservative on this thread is that argument that maybe, just maybe, the pay and benefits that some of you resent federal workers for having should set a standard for all workers, instead of accepting the private sector global race to the bottom.

Posted by: DCProud | February 3, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Federal workers are overpaid and lazy! Barry could cut the Fed workforce by 50% with no reduction in work (or lack thereof). Maybe Barry Hussein Obama and his union buds/bums might want to go get a real job in the real world. Fed unions are worthless.

Posted by: Drudge1 | February 3, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse


As stated by some of the others, both Brown and the Union rep are correct. However, there are many Govt employees thast would never survive in the private sector. I served 26 years in the U.S. Navy, having assignments where I had to work with Civil Servants. Overall, the majority are conscientious workers, but there are also many that are not worth the price of a hamburger. I was instumental in getting a worthless employee fired. It took three years because of the union. After my retirement, I worked in the USPS for 13 years. At least half of the people I worked with were just doing the minimum to get by. I was frequently chastised by some of my fellow "workers" to slow down and not work so fast because I was messing with their overtime. So all I can say is privatize and get the power-hungry unions out of government.

Posted by: FairTax15 | February 3, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

If there are so many educated people running our government why are we in such a mess? Obama, Executives, Zcars, Representatives, Senators, etc.have a great health program but refuse to have the same program they are forceing on us.I remember Obama saying we all have to sacrifice for America. I do not see any of them offering up anything but grabbing everything they get their hands on. Obama had a cure for everything when ha ran for president but produced nothing but confusion and disruption.

Posted by: jrbreslin1 | February 3, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Scott Brown is a liar and an idiot. I used to work for the federal gov't and was paid around 25% LESS than people in the private sector doing the same job, and that's after figuring in the benefits we received. It's a real shame that these tea baggers can spew any lie they want without any repercussions.

Posted by: biteme7 | February 3, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Well, if he feels that way....since he's about to become a "federal worker" himself, then he should certainly come out and offer to do his job without pay, as well as refuse to accept Congressional health insurance coverage and other lucrative perks that Senators receive. Oh, and he should also refuse any government pension he might be entitled to when his term ends in 2012.

Put your money where your mouth is, Mr. Brown.

Posted by: elscott | February 3, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

What an airhead he's turning out to be.

I left my private sector job to go work for a federal agency taking a 50% pay cut in the process. I made that decision because I knew that the federal job was way more interesting and challenging, and that I could affect positive change for fellow Americans and the world. I have no regrets, but for the fact that a himbo like Scott Brown has greater control of my job than he would have, had I stayed in the private sector.

Posted by: jaysit | February 3, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Obama has increased the federal work-force to the largest size in history. No issue with the individuals, but we need to cut the number of federal workers across the board. Just can not afford them without bankrupting the country.

Posted by: JCM-51 | February 3, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse
_________________________________________

That's a load of crap. The greatest increase in federal workers occurred under the Bush administration with the creation of the Dept. of Homeland Security. Moreover, agencies like the FAA and FDA continue to be woefully understaffed. I'm so sick of the parallel BS universe that Republicans live in, a universe in which facts just don't matter.

Posted by: jaysit | February 3, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Scott Brown is right, there are to many federal employees. Even if they are highly paid only because they are professionals, that doesn't mean the people of the US can continue to pay them. Either that or their wages need to fall, or perhaps it doesn't take as much college education to actually do the job. Perhaps get rid of some of the higher paid, and hire some lower paid in other positions that can do some of the work the higher paid aren't required for.


So the union says you that comparing the federal and private is not an apples to apples comparison, but then the law is based on a comparison of the two. The ECI is used which "calculates the total set of employee costs to businesses, not just wages. Health insurance, pensions and death-benefit plans, and bonuses are all calculated here and broken out separately from wages and salaries", union and non-union are included.


Government has better benefits then most private employees, and their jobs tend to be more stable. So conceivably they should be paid less then an equivelent job in the private sector.

from wikipedia, and it sounds like they have this right:

"A common misconception is that the locality adjustments are determined according to cost of living fluctuations and other regional considerations. In fact, the adjustments are determined according to the cost of employment in a given area as measured by the Department of Labor's Employment Cost Index (ECI), which does not necessarily correlate to the better-known Consumer Price Index that tracks consumer prices. Both Republican and Democratic administrations have complained about the methodology used to compute locality adjustments and the projected cost of closing the pay gap (as determined by FEPCA) between Federal salaries and those in the private sector."

Posted by: win1 | February 3, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

He is not the only republican who has made this comment about Federal employees. Does his comment also include our Senators and Representatives in Congress ??? They seem to be getting ok getting thiers but, not seeing to it that thier employer the US Taxpayer gets thiers.

Posted by: loopie42 | February 10, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

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