Threat of sequestration takes a toll on employee productivity

Threat of sequestration takes a toll on employee productivity

Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter confirms the Pentagon is preparing for April-though-September furloughs.

Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter confirms the Pentagon is preparing for April-though-September furloughs. Defense Department

With few signs that Congress and the White House are close to a new budget deal, agency employees continue to plan reluctantly for across-the-board spending cuts, leaving vacancies unfilled and drawing up springtime furlough schedules, according to observers.

“Agencies are scrambling, and there’s nothing pretty about what they’re trying to do,” said Max Stier, president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service. “With all the uncertainty, things are frozen in place, and there are hiring freezes everywhere.” Continue reading “Threat of sequestration takes a toll on employee productivity”

Shrinking staffs imperil missions at key agencies

Shrinking staffs imperil missions at key agencies

Jun. 18, 2012 – 08:09AM   |
By STEPHEN LOSEY

The IRS saw a 6 percent staffing cut last year.

The 0.5 percent decline in the federal workforce last year — the first in five years — may not seem like much. But at the agencies where the cuts are most pronounced, the impact is big.

The Social Security Administration — which saw its staff shrink 6 percent last year — warned Congress last month it cannot keep up with swelling workloads as baby boomers retire and more Americans file for benefits.

At the IRS, which also saw a 6 percent staffing cut last year, fewer tax enforcement agents translates to $4 billion a year in uncollected revenues, according to the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents IRS employees. The IRS has also cut customer service staff who help people pay their taxes.

“Everything is taking longer,” NTEU President Colleen Kelley said in an interview. “There are fewer examinations being done, fewer employees to help taxpayers get on payment plans, and the IRS is collecting less revenue, which means less money to fund every other agency.”

In most cases, agencies are cutting their workforces to help meet budget constraints. At some places, that means freezing hiring and not replacing employees who retire. At others — such as the IRS — buyouts have been offered to trim the ranks.

With the White House and Congress facing increasing pressure to cut the deficit — and steep cuts looming in January as part of the sequestration process — budgets are certain to get even tighter. And some experts fear Congress will continue cutting budgets without scaling back agencies’ missions, which will force some agencies to cut staffing to dangerous levels. Continue reading “Shrinking staffs imperil missions at key agencies”

Sequestration would mean tens of thousands of furloughs

Sequestration would mean tens of thousands of furloughs

Sep. 24, 2012 – 07:48AM   |
By SEAN REILLY   |   2  Comments
 “We're talking about at least tens of thousands [of employees furloughed] if it [sequestration] goes on a couple of months,” says John Palguta, above, vice president for policy at the Partnership for Public Service.
“We’re talking about at least tens of thousands [of employees furloughed] if it [sequestration] goes on a couple of months,” says John Palguta, above, vice president for policy at the Partnership for Public Service. (Staff file photo)

For large swaths of the federal workforce, automatic budget cuts set to take effect early next year would mean unpaid furloughs, according to current and former officials.

“We’re talking about at least tens of thousands [of employees] if it goes on a couple of months,” said John Palguta, vice president for policy at the Partnership for Public Service.

Particularly hard-hit could be agencies in which payroll and benefits make up a high percentage of the budget, such as the Social Security Administration, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and National Archives and Records Administration, Palguta said. Continue reading “Sequestration would mean tens of thousands of furloughs”

Part 4: Morale Of Federal Workers Fluctuates As Cuts Loom

WAMU 88.5

 

Part 4: Morale Of Federal Workers Fluctuates As Cuts Loom

By: Jonathan Wilson // August 1, 2012
A view of the U.S. Capitol dome from inside the building as the sun sets.
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
A view of the U.S. Capitol dome from inside the building as the sun sets.

Those looking for signs that the talk about shrinking government is getting federal employees down won’t find it at the Next Generation of Government training summit — an event aimed at bringing together Generation X and Y government professionals.

Diverse 20- and 30-somethings mix and mingle, laugh and share stories in between conference sessions, and you’d never know they stand to be directly affected by pending budget cuts.

With Congress under pressure to reduce spending, compensation for government workers is often on the chopping block, as are the resources dedicated to each agency. But not every federal employee sees the debate about spending as a bad thing.

In fact, the possibility of a smaller federal government isn’t changing how these young federal workers feel about their jobs, says Dave Uejio, a 30-something president of Young Government Leaders, one of the groups sponsoring the “NextGen” conference.

It’s partly because the new generation of federal workers doesn’t necessarily see government work as a lifetime commitment in the same way as previous generations did, adds Uejio, who works at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Continue reading “Part 4: Morale Of Federal Workers Fluctuates As Cuts Loom”

Human resource executives: Tight budgets, brain drain challenge federal workforce

Agencies ‘bracing for change,’ according to survey

September 03, 2012|By Gus G. Sentementes, The Baltimore Sun

With baby boomers hitting retirement age, federal agencies expect challenging years ahead in grooming the next crop of leaders, managing heavier workloads, and attracting skilled professionals to work for the government, according to a recent survey of federal executives.

Fifty-five federal executives told the Partnership for Public Service that their main challenges were declining budgets, high turnover due in part to retirements, inadequate leadership and succession planning and competency gaps in human resources and agency leadership skills. Continue reading “Human resource executives: Tight budgets, brain drain challenge federal workforce”