Executive Branch Furloughs?

Over at the Federal Eye,Ed O’Keefe tells us that Mayor Daley of Chicago ( redundant phrase, perhaps?) had all city workers take the day off today to save about $8M this financial year.  Never content to keep ideas to himself and in Chicago, Mayor Daley apparently said that President Obama should consider doing this in the Executive Branch also.

“I hope every federal employee from the president all the way down takes 15 days without pay to turn that money back to taxpayers’ use, because they’re getting laid off, they’re getting cut back, there are no jobs out there,” Daley said earlier this month.

(I am  not sure how Mayor Daley connects the dots between all of the Executive Departments  taking two weeks off and how that helps people who lose their jobs because of the economy.  Do you?)

In the article, I ran across this gem:

“As long as funding is appropriated, it’s not possible to force federal employees to take furloughs,” said Donald Kettl, dean of the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy and a leading expert on the federal government. “As long as funding is available, they couldn’t force people to do it.”

It should be obvious to any person over 40 years old that Dean Kettl has been working in academia for too many of his years. Hey, Dean Kettl, when the  boss says take tomorrow off, one takes the day off. Period. Does Dean Kettl actually think that somebody is going to stand up and say ” Uh, excuse me, sir, but this money is already appropriated and just because you are POTUS does not mean you can tell me to take the day off”?  (Well, of course, the Republicans would use this to demonstrate Obama’s destruction of America but I am thinking that the WH could spin this as a Libertarian experiment to prepare for less socialism and government regulation.)

And how about this quote?

Max Stier, president of the Partnership for Public Service cautioned that a furlough is “exactly the wrong thing to do and it reinforces the misconception about how important the federal workforce is to addressing our problems.” He noted that the 1995 federal government shutdown “horrified” Americans, because “they weren’t getting the services they needed and wanted.”

“Government’s more important now than it’s ever been, because it’s central to solving so many of our problems,” Stier said.

Cough. Gasp.  I think people were not horrified because they didn’t receive their government service. I think they were horrified that the men we elect to government allowed it to happen. Many of you know that I think there are some things only big government can do , however,  I am in favor of our federal government doing less in a number of areas.  One of them is solving my problems. Secondly,  I think that rotating Department furloughs  has merit. Start with Education then move to Commerce and later to Treasury. Surely,  we can rotate them off for a few days… and some of them we simply do not call back. (Like Deputy Assistants of anything and everything. Who needs them?)

And what would those federal unions say?   

Not surprisingly, federal employee unions also frown on furloughs, noting that forcing workers to stay home won’t end all associated costs.

The cost-conscious union that would rather have their members work than go fishing indicates that the recession and the federal deficit may have made them a little nervous  about having  union members stay home for any protracted period of time. We, the people, might not miss all of those federal employees.


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3 thoughts on “Executive Branch Furloughs?

  1. I don’t know about you but when the government shut down in 1995, did you even notice? The sky didn’t exactly fall in. The only ones affected by the shut down then were “non-essential” employees, which makes one wonder why they are around to begin with.

    Furloughs at the time are entirely appropriate. I wouldn’t be too surprised by the unions. Aren’t they always willing to willing to make a few at the bottom lose everything rather than everyone cut back a little? Look at the state union when Doyle gave them the choice of a few unpaid days for everybody or cutting more employees altogether.

    Glad to hear you think government should do less in a number of areas. I wonder if you have any specific ideas on what those might be.

    1. “The only ones affected by the shut down then were “non-essential” employees, which makes one wonder why they are around to begin with.”

      Oh, yes. I could not agree more. We should only have essential employees in government.

      I think the federal government needs to do less in Education, Commerce, Housing, “Competitivenss,Innovation, and Export Promotion”, and a few other areas.

  2. While I’m not necessarily fond of taking a pay cut due to 16 furlough days, I’m certainly willing to do so because of the financial situation the state is in.

    However, what I find fault with is how the various state agencies have chosen to administer furlough days for their employees. For instance, DWD workers had last Friday (or the one before, I can’t remember) off, but they were also told they could come in and work overtime on Saturday so they could get their assigned work done for that week. Where’s the sense in that???

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