Federal workers won't lose extra pay
Supplement wages for high-cost localities had been threatened

The Californian

Federal employees in Monterey County no longer have to worry about losing their locality pay, a salary supplement for federal workers in areas with high costs of living.

The Office of Personnel Management informed U.S. Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, on Tuesday that Monterey County's locality pay is safe.

"I am extremely relieved to receive this news," Farr said.

"Every single one of the over 4,000 federal employees working in Monterey County deserves the security of knowing that they will be able to keep their hard-earned pay increase."

Federal workers here will retain the salary increase they received in January 2001.

The county was in danger of losing its locality pay because of new definitions of urbanism in June by the Office of Management and Budget, the result of changes based on the 2000 Census.

The salary decrease could have represented more than $40 million in revenue lost for Monterey County, Farr's office said.

Farr said a change in the county's status was uncalled for and would have threatened the ability of local federal-agency branches to adequately serve the community.

Originally published Wednesday, December 24, 2003