Agriculture Close To Avoiding Furloughs

Agriculture Close To Avoiding Furloughs

Illinois farmer Jacob Hermes uses a combine to harvest his winter wheat crop.
Illinois farmer Jacob Hermes uses a combine to harvest his winter wheat crop. Seth Perlman/AP

It’s looking more likely that the Agriculture Department will not have to furlough any employees this fiscal year.

Senate appropriators have approved the department’s request to shift funds within the Rural Development division to avoid furloughing about 4,800 employees because of sequestration, according to an aide. House lawmakers have not yet responded but a decision could come as early as today or Wednesday, Jennifer Hing, a spokeswoman for the majority on the Appropriations Committee, said by email.

Appropriators have until Thursday to approve or reject Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s April 23 request to use special limited budget flexibility — what’s known as interchange transfer authority — to cover salary shortfalls in Rural Development in fiscal 2013. Continue reading “Agriculture Close To Avoiding Furloughs”

April Brings a Reprieve in Federal Retirement Applications

April Brings a Reprieve in Federal Retirement Applications

The Office of Personnel Management got some breathing room last month to deal with the federal retirement backlog, receiving fewer new claims in April than expected.

OPM reported that it received 7,059 new retirement applications last month, slightly under the 8,000 it projected and the fewest so far in 2013, according to the latest statistics. The agency experienced an influx of 52,744 new claims between January and March alone, a 51 percent increase from the same period last year.

The backlog now stands at 30,080 claims, down 18 percent since March and 17 percent since January. Continue reading “April Brings a Reprieve in Federal Retirement Applications”