Federal workers in region to get extra pay in 2006

President signs order adding 1.52 percent in `locality' funds to raise OK'd by Congress

December 23, 2005|By GWYNETH K. SHAW | GWYNETH K. SHAW,SUN REPORTER

Federal workers in the Baltimore-Washington area will get an extra 1.52 percent pay increase next year on top of the average raise approved for all government employees, thanks to an executive order signed by President Bush yesterday.

Before leaving for his Christmas celebration at Camp David, Bush left a gift for workers across the country. Congress had approved the pay raise, but so-called "locality pay" is added for employees in many cities where the cost of living is more expensive, to bring their wages closer to those earned in the private sector.

The order means civilian federal employees are getting at least a 2.1 percent overall average pay increase.

The pay increases don't become final until the president signs the order, which basically divides the money set aside by Congress between across-the-board raises and the money based on geographical location.

FOR THE RECORD - An article in Friday's Maryland section gave an incorrect figure for the locality pay increase granted to federal workers in the Baltimore-Washington area for 2006. The total increase, encompassing an across-the-board raise of 2.1 percent and the locality payment, is 3.44 percent. The Sun regrets the error.

This year, employees in the Baltimore region received an additional 1.72 percent in locality pay, on top of a 2.7 percent across-the-board raise.

The Federal Salary Council recommended a 2.1 percent raise for everyone for 2006, plus 1.34 percent in locality pay for the Baltimore area.

The order Bush signed yesterday offers slightly more. The raises take effect on the first day of the first pay period next month.

Bush's move also cemented pay raises for Vice President Dick Cheney, members of the House and Senate, the justices of the Supreme Court and federal judges. All are getting about 1.9 percent more in 2006.

For Cheney, that means a $3,900 raise. He'll earn $212,000 next year. So will Supreme Court chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, an Illinois Republican.

Party leaders in the House and Senate will earn $183,500, up from $180,100 this year. All other senators and House members will get $165,200, an increase of $3,100.

The pay raises for members of Congress are automatic, unless lawmakers refuse them. The Senate voted this year to skip its cost of living adjustment, but the House did not go along.

gwyneth.shaw@baltsun.com

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