Senior Correspondent Mike Causey is on vacation. This is the first in a series of guest columns written by Federal Report readers. Today’s column is from recent retiree Tony Krolik.
I would personally like to thank Mike Causey for allowing me to write something while he is on vacation. It will also soon be my last day as a working federal employee. Mike told me I could write about anything, and it is hard to write something that means something to all working feds because all agencies are different in many ways.
I will have worked for the Internal Revenue Service for almost 27 years when I leave. Yes, I have been on the front lines for years carrying a bag and asking people to pay their taxes willingly or having to force you to pay. With eight years of prior collections work for two different banks, I have lots of stories.
Was it fun? Yes, most of the time it was fun. I have always had the privilege of working with many classy individuals. I will miss them a lot. It is the senators, congressmen and even the presidents who I will not miss. I might have stayed on, but those people took the fun out the job. My biggest reason for leaving is not to lose any more of my pension than I already have.
I must say that I have no use for any politician, Democrat or Republican for this simple reason: They do not care about you, me or the rest of the country. It really is a crying shame that the federal government cannot come up with a budget on a yearly basis. It is special interest and big political backers that draws their attention.
Until recently we were the subjects of Congress’ beatings. Up until the VA issues came to light (sorry, guys), the IRS was being looked at for handing out over $2.8 million in award money to employees, even though they owed taxes. I will set the record straight: If you work for IRS and you owe and don’t pay, you are gone. I’m willing to bet that most of those who had owed have paid the debt off. Which is more than I can say about our wonderful Senate and Congress. I’m not stopping there, I researched a few things and I want to share them with all you feds. I want you to call your Congressman after this and ask some questions.
Did you know the average Senator or Congressman receives $174,000 in salary a year? The Speaker of the House earns $223,000 and House and Senate majority and minority leaders each earn $193,400. Why? They are all millionaires or nearly there (just haven’t pocketed enough special interest money).
That’s not all. They also get an MRA: Members Representational Allowance for members of the House and the Senators Official Personnel and Office Expense Account for the Senate, which averaged more than $3,209,992 per Senator and $1,243,650 per Congressman. Now, not all get that kind of money, because it is determined by the state’s population for a Senator. Congressmen’s MRA is partially determined by how far they live from the Capitol.
Here’s the kicker folks. A congressional staffer can make up to $168,411 as of 2013 and a Senate staffer up to $159,000 a year. When you call your representative or Senator, the person on the other end of the phone could make as much as two times as much as me and possibly three times as much as other feds. Now what’s wrong this picture?
I tried calling my Congressman last year. I told him I worked for IRS, and if it wasn’t for me and my fellow IRS comrades, you don’t get a paycheck. I was told I was out of line! What’s wrong with this picture? I state the truth and I’m told off? We feds have to say something to these millionaire politicians with huge budgets and fringe benefits we don’t even know about — and yet they tell us we make too much money? I think it is about time someone corralled our legislative branch of government and told them they need to take a cut too!
I just want to end this by saying I’m sorry for you who are still working and will have continue with the fed bashing in Congress. Most of us just want what we signed up for. Instead, we’ve been told we cost too much. I say if they want to cut something, let Congress and the Senate takes the first slash. I get some relief from this because I am leaving federal service. I will not forget my fellow feds. Be proud of what you do, because it is the one, if not the only reason, why most of you are working for Uncle Sam. — Tony Krolik
NEARLY USELESS FACTOID
Did you know the term “nerf,” as in nerf ball is actually an acronym? It stands for Non-Expanding Recreational Foam
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