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Federal Employees News Digest : April 22, 2013
Phil Piemonte, Managing Editor E-mail: email@example.com What's Inside44 April 22, 2013 • Vol. 62, No. 38 DOD furloughs eased, but real costs remain high, union says Defense Department employees got a par- tial reprieve from impending furloughs when Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced on March 28 that the department was able to find savings elsewhere, and would roll back the number furlough days from a previously announced 22 days to 14. Since that time, the components of the sprawling agency have continued to search for additional savings that would allow them to trim back the number of furlough days even further in order to preserve readiness. A top naval officer at an April 10 Pentagon news briefing said that the Navy now is aiming for zero furlough days for its civilian employees in order not to compromise readiness. At that briefing, Rear Adm. Joseph Mulloy, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for budget, said that his service's civil- ian employees are integrated into the Navy's major activities such that they are too valu- able to furlough. "These people ... all 212,000 or 214,000 are people turning wrenches, training personnel, fixing gear, riding on our ships," Mulloy said. "Hence, our issue on furlough is to get down to zero or get support and push that way, because we have a dramatic impact on our equipment and our readiness at furlough in the Navy and Marine Corps." Union says furloughs a waste "At DOD they have cut back on furloughs, as we've seen---and the reduction in the furloughs at DOD is obviously good," Don Hale, chairman of the American Federation of Government Employees Defense Conference, told FEND. The Conference is pressing DOD and Congress to ease fur- loughs and other cutbacks. "The problem is that these furloughs---fur- loughing Defense employees for, say, even seven days---doesn't do any good. It can cost more than it saves," he said. "The confusion and angst alone that this is causing, certainly isn't worth it," Hale con- tinued. "When in the original plan they were going to do 22 days, it might have saved $5.3 billion in pay---but even that, though a lot of money, is a small drop in the bucket for such a big operation. When you reduce that by more than one-third, the savings are far lower." "It's probably going to cost them more than it's going to save---just to cut seven days, when you include the cost of planning and everything else," he said. "DOD employees now don't know what's going to happen, when it might happen, and how to make any plans for themselves," Hale said. In addition to damaging productivity for relatively little savings, the furloughs severely affect the department's ability to recruit tal- ent, according to Hale. "With all this going on---why would you want to come work for the Defense Department?" he asked. "When you look at military construction that's still going on at DOD installations---you scratch your head because you ask, 'Why are you building this, as you're letting people go?' Employees see this, you know," Hale said. "For instance, at West Point, the military is doing large-scale construction on a new barracks--- Bugging out in D.C. Washington is often called the City of the Worried Well. I know this, because I call it that all the time. We have people here who are paid to worry about some of the weirdest things. And we have people inside the beltway whose livelihood is predicated on making sure that people beyond the beltway are worrying about something at all times. I love D.C. I spent my formative years here and call it home. But it has a high percentage of nut-cases, many of whom came here from Chicago, Boston, New York and Podunk---and perhaps Portland, Maine; and Austin, Texas. This fact hit me (again) the other day when I picked up my favorite newspaper (and long-time home), The Washington Post. There, above the fold and next to a picture of the cherry blossoms on the Tidal Basin, was a story headlined: PARTYING LIKE IT'S 1996. The sub-head said that---as hap- pened nearly two decades ago---D.C. and the mid-Atlantic are about to be hit by another swarm of sex-starved youths who have been saving up their cravings for 17 years. I remember it well: The invasion of the cicadas. INSIGHT BY MIKE CAUSEY continued on page 2 For more news...see Federal Daily at www.FederalDaily.com • Union wants advisory panel 3 • Disclosure requirement repealed 4 • In Brief 4 • Legal Matters 5 • Informed Investor 7 • Federal Benefits Q&A 8 continued on page 3
April 15, 2013
April 29, 2013