Workforce Wonk

By Alyah Khan

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Shhh, don't talk about your shutdown plans

The threat of a government shutdown is again real. The measure that funds federal agencies is set to expire April 8, yet members of Congress appear unwilling to reach a long-term compromise.

The lack of a fiscal 2011 budget has made it hard for federal managers to plan and gather important data, experts said. But the exact nature of the challenges agencies face now and in the event of a shutdown have not been made clear.

That’s because the Obama administration is telling agencies not to publicly discuss the consequences of a budget shortfall, according to documents obtained by USA Today through the Freedom of Information Act.

In February e-mail messages from the Office of Management and Budget, agencies were told their statements to Congress “should not state or imply what functions would or would not be continued in the event of a funding gap,” USA Today reported.

The message continued: “Agencies should not be previewing shutdown plans – that is, policy and operational decisions – in any way.”

Agencies have been instructed to clear any responses to questions about their shutdown plans with OMB.

An OMB spokeswoman told USA Today that because agencies are “continually reviewing plans to ensure they are up-to-date, it would not be prudent and it would be premature to discuss plans that have not been finalized.”

How do you feel about federal agencies keeping their shutdown plans under wraps? Also, what are your concerns about how a shutdown would affect your agency?

Posted by Alyah Khan on Mar 30, 2011 at 12:20 PM


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