Sequester

Coburn continues to question agency job listings

Sen. Tom Coburn

Sen. Tom Coburn

The Office of Management and Budget issued a memo in February urging agencies to hire cautiously because of sequestration. Yet job postings continue to go online, and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) questions whether they're all essential.

Coburn, ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, wrote a letter March 5 to OMB Acting Director Jeffrey Zients, asking why 606 job posts were uploaded to USAJobs.gov. Choosing to forgo a single hire could erase the need to furlough dozens of employees, he argued.

"According to OMB, the average annual salary for a government employee is around $76,000," Coburn wrote. "This means that the average new hire equates to a one week furlough for 52 current government employees."

Coburn pointed to Food and Drug Administration listings for a social media management service to streamline multiple social media platforms. The Agriculture Department wants to hire a librarian at a salary ranging from $74,872 to $97,333, and the Air Force seeks a director of history and museums policies and programs at a salary of between $143,600 and $165,300 per year.

"While the Air Force may need leadership for its museums and history programs, and the USDA may need to keep its literature in order, those needs should take a backseat to the dire threat to public health and safety that some have claimed will result from sequestration," Coburn wrote.

The USDA, he suggested, could offset one week of furloughs for as many as 104 and 156 food inspectors by canceling the job offering.

This is the seventh letter Coburn has sent to the administration regarding sequester-driven belt-tightening, and the second to OMB regarding hiring. Coburn wrote to Zients Feb. 25 about the issue of hiring for jobs that are less necessary in a time of sequestration.

About the Author

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

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