Letter: Coburn's math doesn't add up

Regarding "Senator: Fed workers miss millions of hours": I replied to a similar article in Government Executive magazine and asked Sen. Coburn several questions about his study. I think his study is a cheap shot at the federal government that lacks merit. I even went to the trouble of assembling data to answer the major question that I posed so I would not require him to do any hard thinking.

Here's what I found from Office of Personnel Management statistics and my own calculations. The federal government employs roughly 2.7 million civilians who work more than 5 billion hours a year (if one factors out annual leave and does not include the federal holidays most Americans take and sick leave). Coburn notes that federal government workers were AWOL 3.5 million hours in 2007 and makes a big deal out of it, saying that U.S. businesses would find that unacceptable.  

However, when one does the math, the 5.5 million hours represent much less than 1 percent of their total working hours in 2007. Is Coburn saying private-sector employees don't take long lunches one in a awhile or leave early when the boss is not looking? How does he define AWOL? Does it really matter when these absences are infinitesimally small?

Anonymous


What do you think? Paste a comment in the box below (registration required), or send your comment to letters@fcw.com (subject line: Blog comment) and we'll post it.

Featured

  • Telecommunications
    Stock photo ID: 658810513 By asharkyu

    GSA extends EIS deadline to 2023

    Agencies are getting up to three more years on existing telecom contracts before having to shift to the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions vehicle.

  • Workforce
    Shutterstock image ID: 569172169 By Zenzen

    OMB looks to retrain feds to fill cyber needs

    The federal government is taking steps to fill high-demand, skills-gap positions in tech by retraining employees already working within agencies without a cyber or IT background.

  • Acquisition
    GSA Headquarters (Photo by Rena Schild/Shutterstock)

    GSA to consolidate multiple award schedules

    The General Services Administration plans to consolidate dozens of its buying schedules across product areas including IT and services to reduce duplication.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.