Workforce is once more a target

With major budget proposals from each party released, Democrats and Republicans prepare to fight over the federal workforce again.

Remember the long list of bills last year that sought to save money by messing with the federal workforce? Extended pay freezes, furloughs, cutting the number of employees — all those proposals came and went, keeping feds perpetually on edge. Well, it’s not over yet.

As the fiscal 2013 budget battle heats up, one need only look at the Republican proposal that House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) released in March. Titled "The Path to Prosperity," it includes proposals to extend the Obama administration’s freeze on federal salaries through 2015 and reduce the federal workforce by 10 percent through attrition over a three-year period.

House Democrats, led by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), ranking member of the Budget Committee, released their own budget proposal in March. "Making It in America" calls for an approach to deficit reduction based on balanced spending cuts and revenue increases. The Democrats’ proposal implicitly rejects the Republicans' call to cut the workforce, saying that "an indiscriminate, across-the-board 10 percent cut" would harm security agencies, which have accounted for more than 94 percent of the growth of the federal workforce since 2001.

The Democratic document served as a sequel of sorts to the budget request the Obama administration released in February, which would end the pay freeze and give federal civilian employees a (very small) raise.

None of the proposals is going to become the budget, but they signal the parties' philosophies and approaches to deficit reduction. On the GOP side, that includes keeping federal employees at their current pay rate for several more years.

So even if the GOP’s budget proposal goes into the ash heap, the ideas will certainly rise from the ashes in one form or another — and probably more than once this year.

Consultant Howard Risher, writing in Federal Times, said an extended federal pay freeze could cost more than it saves, especially as talented and hard-to-replace employees in technology, engineering and health care leave for the private sector.

Risher suggested trying to create a high-performance culture among federal employees using management practices that have worked in other settings. “Those higher levels of performance could generate savings far beyond the net savings from the freeze,” he wrote. “The changes would make government a better place to work. We know how to accomplish that.”

Meanwhile, existing measures are having a detrimental effect on some government organizations, Government Executive reports. For example, temporary employees who must periodically apply to continue their employment at the Agriculture Department are being rejected due to a hiring freeze at the agency.

Federal Computer Week readers were none too happy about the workforce measures in the Republican budget proposal either.

One reader, who chose the pseudonym Frustrated, wrote: “I find it amazing that a whole group of highly paid, self-made or hereditary millionaires continue to take their $3,000 raise while plotting the demise of millions of Americans through cuts and slashes. Plus, it's not just the deficit we're expected to pay back now. We're a fount of money for highway/road fixes, college tuition rate breaks and anything else they can think of. Sure, we have no life except to serve your whim.”

Another reader, using the moniker Bemused, pointed out a discrepancy: “OK, Congress, stop mandating that agencies keep increasing their headcounts. ‘What?’ you say, ‘Congress appears to say one thing and do another?!?’ That’s right, girls and boys. As an example, my agency has, for several years, been given congressional mandates to increase our headcount by a couple thousand over the last three years.”

So as 2012 continues to unfold, don’t be surprised to see more bills in Congress that would cut federal pay, downsize the workforce and otherwise seek to reduce the deficit through changes to federal employment. It is inevitable.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.