Gov Career

By Phil Piemonte

Blog archive

Furloughs, freezes and other measures

The shift in power in the House in the new year may put a lot of things back on the table when it comes to the federal workplace.

Of course, legislation affecting feds still needs to pass through the Senate, which Democrats will still control, and then get past President Obama’s veto pen.

But chances for passing some recently introduced bills which contain measures like pay freezes, workforce reductions and furloughs may be a bit better these days than they might have been in years past.

The reason?

Let’s put it this way. Battle-weary soldiers often exhibit something called the “thousand-yard stare.” Today’s legislators, traumatized by being in constant campaign mode, have developed something we might call the “two-year stare.” In other words, they face the constant temptation to measure what they do today by how it will affect the political landscape (and their own chances for holding onto their seats) come the next election.

While the two-year stare is not a new phenomenon, various pressures—including the constantly increasing cost of running for office, and the emergence of politics as a year-round form of “entertainment” on TV, radio and the Internet—has made it much more common.

Back to those bills. In the case of Democrats, the temptation to join the crowd and pile up a few brownie points for fiscal conservatism before the 2012 election will be pretty substantial given the national mood, especially since the White House will be in the balance two years hence.

Time will tell.

Posted by Phil Piemonte on Nov 05, 2010 at 4:02 PM


Reader comments

Mon, Nov 15, 2010

Congress has forgotten they are Federal employees and also the most guilty of squandering and hiding hard earned tax dollars. Some of them do not even pay their taxes for years. They work for themselves and not for the people who elect them.
What about all the fraud/cheaters through the Government programs; people on unemployment who sit at home and watch their big flat-sceen tv and draw their check. What about all the reports we see of Federal officials cheating on their expenditures. Stop blaming Fed Employee in the GS 2-9 grade levels; those will be the furloughed; or pulled into the 15% deduction of work force; those are not the employees earning $150,000 P/A. Be fair and point the finger in the right direction.

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 Bonnie San Diego

You want a Federal Employee workforce reduction, offer a buyout to retire early. Our office would lose 6 employes or 60% of our staff by the end of the year. Buyouts are used by the private sector before layoffs to reduce the number of people who are affected by losing their job.

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 Rick San Diego

Our office has 10 employees today, as of 1/1/11 we will have 8 and by 1/1/15 only 1 will be left. The rest of us will retire within 4 years. Government does not need workforce reductions and furloughs, attrition by retirement will reduce the number of federal employees more than any proposed Republican ideas. Good luck in getting help at FEMA or SBA in a time of disaster since there will no nobody left.

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 FLORINE

YOU KNOW EVERY TIME CONGRESS WANT TO BALANCE THE BUDGET, CUT SPENDING, THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEE IS THE SCAPEGOAT. WHY DON'T THEY FURLOUGH, FREEZE, REDUCE THEIR STAFF, GIVE UP THEIR MAIDS, BUTLER, DRIVER, PAID DOCTOR AND HOSPITAL EXPENSE AND DO WHAT THE GS-2 - GS 9 DUE LIVE FROM PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK BECAUSE AFTER ALL THE DEDUCTION THEIR IS NOT MUCH TO LIVE ON. YES WE ARE GETTING 1.4 PERCENT RAISE BUT THAT IS BARELY ENOUGH TO COVER THE HEALTH INSURANCE RISE, TAXES, RETIRED SO DON'T TALKED ABOUT BALANCING THE BUDGET WITH ME BECAUSE I PAID MY SHARE OF EVERYTHING. IF YOU WANT TO BALANCE THE BUDGET ASK THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO DONATE 1.00 EACH AND USE THAT MONEY TO PAY OFF THE NATIONAL DEBT. ALSO STOPPED GIVING OUR HARD-EARNED TAX DOLLAR TO FOREIGN COUNTRIES AND TAKE CARE OF HOME FIRST.

Tue, Nov 9, 2010

It's time to hold Congress accountable. Have they forgotten they are federal employees? What will not help us is to keep changing party majority every 2 years. Let's face it, a politician is a politician. What have we gained from giving up and switching leadership every 2 years. They are all the same and until we as taxpayers start demanding some answers and solutions, there will be no progress in this country. They work for us, not the other way around. They work for us, not the PACs and other special interest groups. Until we find a way to stop the process of buying polical office we will continue to see more of the same.

Show All Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

Contributors

Edward A. Zurndorfer Certified Financial Planner
Mike Causey Columnist
Tom Fox VP for Leadership and Innovation, Partnership for Public Service
Mathew B. Tully Legal Analyst

Free E-Newsletter

FederalDAILY

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.

Stay Connected

Latest Forum Posts

Ask the Expert

Have a question regarding your federal employee benefits or retirement?

Submit a question