Former senator comes to the defense of federal workers

Charles Dharapak/AP

At a time when friends of federal workers are hard to come by, a former senator has stepped up.

Ted Kaufman, a Democrat who represented Delaware in the Senate from 2009 to 2010 after Joe Biden left to become vice president, penned an op-ed in the Wilmington News Journal on Saturday defending government employees, arguing that business strategies for recruiting the best executive talent -- including providing attractive salaries and benefits -- also should apply to the public sector. The piece was republished in The Huffington Post on Tuesday.

Additionally, Kaufman said, current lawmakers obscure the big picture by focusing on the high price of federal pensions.

“We need to take a hard look at pensions, but it is important in a fair society that reforms take into account the fact that over the years many public employees helped meet government budgets by forgoing salary increases in return for ironclad promises about pension benefits,” he wrote.

As the constant trimming of the federal workforce continues, Kaufman warned, “We are losing the very people we need to make us successful.”

During his short time in the Senate, Kaufman became one of Congress’ most vocal proponents of government workers. He organized a Great Federal Employees exhibition at the Russell Senate Office Building Rotunda in February 2010 and frequently praised federal employees on the Senate floor.

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