Federal Manager's Daily Report

A letter argues that the VA has provided “little detail” about the impact of the proposed reduction of around 10,000 employees. Image: Ken Wolter/Shutterstock.com

A group of 17 senators is pressing for scrutiny of the potential impact of the VA’s plans to reduce its workforce by about 10,000 positions, asking the Appropriations Committee there to add language to an upcoming spending bill requiring the department to provide a detailed explanation and justification.

The letter follows a recent hearing before the appropriations panel where VA Secretary Denis McDonough said that recent success in hiring, coupled with reduced turnover, had left the department overstaffed in some areas, and that reductions would occur through attrition and would not impact health care provided to veterans.

The letter notes that the GAO, the inspector general’s office at VA and other outside reviewers have cited “significant challenges hiring for vacant roles and communicating with staff regarding those vacancies” and said that the VA has provided “little detail” about the impact of the proposed reduction.

“Various reports have also revealed that hiring freezes occur across hospitals and clinics nationwide. Inconsistent staffing patterns put veterans’ healthcare quality and accessibility at risk and redirect employees’ attention from their defined job responsibilities to compensate for employment shortages,” they wrote.

They asked that the VA be required to report on how the reduction would be carried out, by facility, office, and position, and how maintaining staffing levels instead would “support reductions in wait times, increased access, and record overall enrollment in health care.”

The AFGE union, which represents about 300,000 of VA’s total staff of about 470,000, applauded the letter, saying the department “is facing tens of thousands of vacancies across the country, and nearly all employees say they need more front-line staff, yet the agency is moving forward with plans to eliminate 10,000 full-time jobs because of budget shortfalls. Continued staffing and budget shortages will push veterans from the VA to private, for-profit community care providers who deliver inferior care at a higher cost to taxpayers.”

Senate Bill Backs 2 Percent Federal Employee Raise, Larger Buyouts at DoD

More Federal Workplace Policy Changes Proposed, but Still Nothing on Schedule F

Bills Press Agencies on Telework Data, Office Space Reductions

Improper Payments, Fraud Continuing in Retirement Program, Report Says

Dispute over ‘Official Time’ Stirred Up Again

House, Regulators Keep Up Scrutiny of Postal Operations Changes

Further Rules Proposed for Postal Service Health Benefits Program

Criminal Organizations are Working to Recruit Postal Employees, Says IG

See also,

Let’s Talk About Leave – Annual Leave

Should I Pay Off My Home with My TSP at Retirement?

The Best Ages for Federal Employees to Retire

Are Feds Over-Compensated?

How Not to Lose Your Federal Insurance at Retirement

Calculator: See Your Annuity Estimate!

FERS Retirement Guide 2024