The EPA has said that while it is continuing to lay the groundwork for offers of buyout and early retirement incentives as previously announced, it is not yet ready to provide specifics.
The EPA is being watched closely as a potential ground-breaking agency for making such offers, since numerous other agencies are facing similar budgetary pressure and are under the same mandate from the White House to reorganize for efficiency. The latest message from the agency illustrates that even once an agency commits to offering such incentives, the process is not a quick one.
Said acting deputy administrator Mike Flynn in a broadcast email to employees: “Headquarters and regional offices currently are working on VERA/VISIP business cases for their respective organizations. Our office of human resources staff will review and consolidate these business cases into one agency-wide business case which will be submitted to the Office of Personnel Management and the Office of Management and Budget for approval.
“In developing our VERA/VSIP business case, we are considering multiple factors including increasing supervisor to staff ratio; consolidating support functions; restructuring or reducing highly graded supervisory and non-supervisory positions; focusing on core business functions, programmatic and STEM priorities, and consolidating and streamlining programs and functions. Details on the selection criteria for employees in the pool are still being worked out,” he wrote.
He said the business case likely will be sent to OPM and OMB by the end of June and that offers would be made “likely sometime in July” with those who accept required to leave by early September. He did not indicate how many offers will be made, although he said they would be “limited.” An earlier planning document indicated that about the same amount of money will be devoted as in a 2014 round of offers that resulted in fewer than 500 employees voluntarily leaving.