According to the Labor Department, the government dropped just over 79,000 jobs last year. While some might question the number (are these jobs, positions, FTEs, temps, slots or what?), just about everyone agrees there are fewer people in their immediate office.
The drop is interesting because the Government Accountability Office says that the number of federal employees went up 250,000 between 2004 and 2012. Much of that increase was to meet stepped-up post 9/11 security needs, however.
The two-year budget agreement was a major step forward for our largely dysfunctional Congress. It has mastered the art of taking extensive breaks, but is less successful when back on the job.
The chief villain for our incredible shrinking government is sequestration. That poison-pill of automatic cuts was created by the Obama administration and approved by Congress — although nearly everyone later said they were against it.
Some agencies and departments have been more creative than others in dodging the full impact of sequestration. But many workers at the IRS say they have been left short-handed. The National Treasury Employees Union has repeatedly warned that cuts are damaging morale and reducing the ability of Uncle Sam’s chief fundraiser to collect badly needed funds. It also has made it harder for the IRS to go after tax cheats.
Here’s an edited comment from a long-time IRS revenue officer and Desert Storm vet. He’s got a year until retirement and can hardly wait.
I am a very hardened, bitter, cynical case, which are the best qualities to have in an RO working the most complex of collection cases. Thanks to politicians we have been furloughed, whipped, hacked and slashed, and called every vile name under the sun … We have been victimized by some of the most wicked witch hunts that would turn even Sen. Joe McCarthy’s stomach…
We had a GS-12 RO who got tired of being a congressional whipping boy. She quit. There are no funds to replace this person or to even offer her GS- 12 slot to the throng’s of GS-11s who are forever stuck as long as we have this current anti-fed political climate.
As soon at the RO was out the door, a throng of hungry, starved fellow employees rushed to her cubicle to scavenge her office supplies. Things are so bad we are being told that in addition to no training, there will be no promotions or hiring … no real pay raises and little chance of seeing the union- contracted awards anytime in the near future…
I’m finally getting out. I already have my federal retiree cookbook entitled ‘1001 Ways To Make Alpo Palatable’ and I am already seeing the vultures starting to circle my cubicle eyeing all my own office supplies I have hoarded from other ex-feds over the past decades…” G Man in the IRS
In contrast the to the easygoing personality portrayed on the PBS favorite, The Joy of Painting, Bob Ross served for 20 years in the United States Air Force, attaining the rank of master sergeant. Ross told a newspaper interviewer: “I was the guy who makes you scrub the latrine, the guy who makes you make your bed, the guy who screams at you for being late to work. The job requires you to be a mean, tough person. And I was fed up with it.”
Retirement backlog shrinks for first time this year Thanks to better than expected progress in processing federal retirement claims last month, the Office of Personnel Management’s backlog of pending claims is shrinking for the first time this year. By the end of March, the number of backlogged claims shrank from more than 23,500 claims to about 18,500.