October 18, 2010
Tim Kauffman
202-639-6405 / 202-374-6491

New Poll Gives High Marks to Federal Employees

WASHINGTON – Nearly three-fourths of Americans who have had direct contact with federal employees during the past year say they are doing their jobs well, a new Washington Post poll finds.

Americans who have had contact with federal employees on the job – whether going through airport security, meeting with a Social Security benefits specialist or getting medical attention from a VA doctor – have a far better view of federal workers than those who have not, the Post poll released today finds. In fact, 73 percent of Americans who have had contact with federal employees during the past year say they do their jobs very well or somewhat well.

In addition, 57 percent of all people surveyed say they would recommend a government career to their friends and family.

“Americans who deal with federal employees know they are hard-working men and women who serve this country with distinction. Many of them risk their lives every day to keep America safe and free,” American Federation of Government Employees National President John Gage said.

Some of the poll findings are troubling. Fifty-two percent of those surveyed say federal employees are overpaid, and 49 percent say federal employees work less hard than private-sector workers. However, nearly two-thirds of those surveyed have had no contact with a federal employee during the past year.

Patty Viers, vice chairwoman of the AFGE Defense Conference and a 33-year employee at the Defense Department, said Americans count on federal employees in more ways than they realize.

“We were among the first responders on 9-11, we fought during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and we were there throughout Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters. We are all proud to serve this country, despite the potential of greater income in private sector careers,” Viers said.

Department of Veterans Affairs employees work tirelessly to ensure returning soldiers get the medical care, benefits and dignified burials they deserve, and they do it with limited resources, National VA Council President Alma Lee said.

“Over half of our employees are veterans taking care of veterans. They fought hard for the freedom we have today and they are giving back by taking care of those who cannot take care of themselves,” Lee said.

Purported surveys that claim federal employees are overpaid compared to private-sector employees couldn’t be further from the truth, Gage said. Fewer than 3 percent of all federal employees earn more than $150,000 a year. These are the doctors who care for our nation’s veterans, the scientists making breakthroughs in crops that would increase the safety and reliability of our world’s food supply, and the researchers who work to find ways to defend our soldiers from IEDs and chemical warfare.

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