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Federal Employees News Digest : March 25, 2013
March 25, 2013 Vol. 62, No. 34 3 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com told FEND. "This will likely come up [later] in the context of the FY14 Financial Services Appropriations Bill and the FY14 National Defense Authorization Act." As NTEU's Kelley recently noted, passage is crucial to reining in the high costs of con- tractors. Without new legislation, salaries will continue to rise under a set formula that in 2011 permitted a DOD contractor salary increase of nearly $70,000, according to the union. Threlkeld, for his part, agreed, pointing to a statement from his union's president on Congress's failure to cap contractor fees as the sequester began to close in late last year. "It is said that contractors are taking the same cut as civilian personnel. Wrong," AFGE presi- dent J. David Cox said at the time, also noting that contractor fees had doubled in just over 10 years. "Given that most of this explosive growth in service contracting was intended to be short- term, there is no question that contractors should bear a higher percentage of cuts." The National Federation of Federal Employees, with a majority of its members working as DOD civilian employees, also con- sistently has backed the cap. "Placing a cap on exorbitant contractor execu- tive salaries is a common-sense solution to reduc- ing our deficit," NFFE National President William R. Dougan said as the proposed law was intro- duced. "Arbitrary cuts to federal jobs is not." 'Reinvention' efforts could backfire, coalition says A coalition of federal management and good government groups sent members of Congress a white paper that revisits the Clinton adminis- tration's effort to "reinvent" government---and cautions lawmakers who are engaged in a parallel effort today to be aware of some of the pitfalls that plagued that earlier effort. The paper is from the Coalition for Effective Change, a 20-year-old group whose member- ship includes organizations like the Senior Executive Association, Federal Managers Association, Federally Employed Women, Federal Bar Association, American Society for Public Administration and Partnership for Public Service. The paper, titled A Study of the Long Term Effects of the Federal Workforce Reduction in the 1990s, looks at the Clinton administra- tion's National Performance Review (NPR), a program designed to reinvent government through budget cuts, workforce downsizing and agency streamlining, while increasing customer service. "Given the similarities between the goals of the NPR and today's discussion concern- ing budget priorities of the government, CEC believes the impact of shrinking resources (both personnel and budgets), the effects on federal agencies, and lessons from the NPR initiative should be examined by Congress as it considers similar proposals," said a letter to lawmakers that accompanied the paper. Negative effects In the paper, CEC notes that as a result of the NPR, agencies during the Clinton admin- istration sought to meet budget reduction goals quickly, and went for the fastest, easiest personnel cuts rather than the targeted cuts the NPR actually had envisioned. That meant that most of the workforce cuts came from front-line employees who took buy-outs and early-out offers. This produced three primary negative impacts, the paper said: First, the loss of front-line employees led to a backlog of services at agencies where employees had close contact with their customers---places like the IRS, Social Security Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition to producing customer service problems, this also ended up costing the government more money, because they had to hire more employees to address the new backlogs, the paper said. Second, although the federal workforce may have shrunk, the workload did not, so the size of the contract workforce "increased dra- matically" as the government brought in more contractors to handle the load. "What got lost in the push for workforce cuts was the discus- sion of cost-benefit analysis and which jobs are inherently governmental," the paper states. "It is also unclear that savings were actually achieved, and it certainly appears that oversight was decreased as the government has fewer mechanisms to hold contractors accountable than it does for federal employees." Third, as a result of severe budget and per- sonnel cuts, agencies had a more difficult time fulfilling their mission. The paper notes that "unlike private businesses, federal agencies can- not change goals, missions, and programs with- out the approval of Congress. The NPR did not seem to consider that federal employees carry out the laws enacted by Congress and that federal employees and agencies do not determine what jobs must be done." In other words, Congress had cut personnel and funding, but expected the same programs to operate effectively. "The rhetoric surrounding the NPR, as today, is that government is not working and cuts need to be made to the federal workforce and agency budgets," the paper concludes. "However, much as in the 1990s, the quick, surface or across-the- board cuts will likely cause more problems than they solve and they do not take into account long-term effects or have any strategy to them." To see more, go to: http://www.coalition4ef- fectivechange.org/images/documents/white- papers/Cuts%20in%20the%201990s%20 and%20Effects%20Today%203-2013.pdf. Members tout Virginia for new FBI HQ site Several lawmakers this month made a case before a House subcommittee for locating a new FBI headquarters in Northern Virginia. In testimony March 13 at a House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee hearing on FBI headquarters consolidation, one of those lawmakers, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), said that locating a new headquarters in his region would position the agency close to the national capital, as well as closer in proximity to other FBI operations. "Virginia already is home to a majority of the FBI's workforce and several of its critical opera- tions, including the FBI Training Academy and Laboratory at Quantico, the Northern Virginia Resident Agency in Prince William County, and the future Central Records Complex in Winchester," Connolly told the panel. "A Virginia location also would offer proxim- ity to the National Counterterrorism Center and the CIA, creating a nexus of national security operations and facilitating improved collabora- tion," Connolly said. "In addition, a location in continued from page 1 Don’t miss our discussion of weekly news topics. Discuss these stories and more with your fellow federal workers at www.FederalSoup.com. continued on page 4
March 18, 2013
April 1, 2013