Bush official backs off pledge to cut 40,000 managers

The Bush administration is not going to force federal agencies to eliminate 40,000 management positions, as President Bush proposed during his campaign, Office of Management and Budget Director Mitch Daniels said Wednesday. The administration is still pushing agencies to reduce the number of managers and eliminate organizational layers, but Daniels said the workforce analyses that OMB has ordered agencies to conduct would determine the number of positions to be cut. "We don't know what the number is going to be," Daniels said at a meeting of the American Association of Budget and Program Analysis. "We'll let the facts dictate the changes." At a campaign stop in Philadelphia in June, Bush promised that, under his administration, 40,000 of the 80,000 mid- and senior-level federal managers who were expected to retire in the next eight years would not be replaced. But the Office of Personnel Management estimates that 72,913 of the 182,618 front-line, middle and senior-level supervisors and managers in the federal government will retire from 2001 to 2008. Even if half of all managers were not replaced, the Bush administration would fall short of its de-layering goal by more than 3,500 managers. In a May 8 bulletin, Daniels instructed agencies to analyze their workforces to identify the number of employees each federal supervisor oversees. The analyses must be completed by the end of June. Then agency leaders must develop restructuring plans aimed at reducing the number of managers and layers in their organizations. Agencies must submit their restructuring plans along with their fiscal 2003 budget proposals, which go to OMB in the fall. Daniels didn't mention the campaign's 40,000 target in the bulletin. At the budget analysts meeting this week, he confirmed that the administration is no longer standing by that number.
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