Workforce

Senator offers advice to avoid furloughs

Sen. Tom Coburn

Rather than force employees to take unpaid time off, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) suggests simply not hiring for some less vital positions.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has eliminated seven jobs in his congressional office, and he is surviving. In a letter sent Feb. 25 to the Obama administration, the ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said agencies could manage too by choosing not to fill lower-priority jobs, and using that payroll to avoid furloughing or laying off employees in higher-priority roles.

Coburn even suggested several lower priority jobs agencies should not fill:

• A staff assistant at the Labor Department to answer phones, who could earn as much as $81,204 annually.

• Ten drivers for the State Department, whose pay could go as high as $26.45 per hour.

• A policy coordinator for the Health and Human Services Department to attend and facilitate meetings and coordinate HHS policies. That position's pay could be as much as $81,204 per year.

• A director of the Air Force history and museums policies and programs, to provide guidance of historical matters throughout the department. The director could earn as much as $156,300 per year.

• An analyst for the Marine Corps' legislative affairs office, who could earn $90,000 per year.

• A director for the Government Employee Services Division at the Agriculture Department, who could earn $179,700 per year.

The government, Coburn estimated, could redirect $1.4 million toward more-essential jobs by not filling "the jobs advertised in just these ten vacancy announcements."

Coburn asked: "Are any of these positions more important than an air traffic controller, a border patrol officer, a food inspector, a [Transportation Security Agency] screener, or a civilian supporting our men and women in combat in Afghanistan?"

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

Featured

  • People
    Dr. Ronny Jackson briefs the press on President Trump

    Uncertainty at VA after nominee withdraws

    With White House physician Adm. Ronny Jackson's withdrawal, VA watchers are wondering what's next for the agency and its planned $16 billion health IT modernization project.

  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.