Maryland lawmakers urge Treasury to halt relocation of 450 jobs

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md. Charles Dharapak/AP File Photo

Maryland lawmakers are urging the Obama administration to head off a Treasury Department proposal to move 450 Financial Management Service employees out of the area.

In a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Maryland Democrat Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin opposed the move, which involves merging FMS and the Bureau of Public Debt into the new Fiscal Service. The plan involves relocating 450 FMS employees who currently report to work in Hyattsville, Md., to either Kansas City, Mo., or Parkersburg, W.Va.

“These are good middle-class jobs for hundreds of trained accountants who have spent their careers in Maryland,” the senators wrote. “It is expected that only 10 percent to 15 percent of all workers will actually be able to pick up and move their families to the communities where their jobs are moving. This move is a direct hit to the middle class in Prince George’s County, a middle class that FMS helped build.”

The senators also said the move would be “a terrible loss for taxpayers who would lose the benefit of the training, expertise and institutional knowledge of the duty-driven civil servants of Prince George’s County.”

The letter also questioned Treasury’s authority to conduct such a move, saying the Congressional Research Service had informed them that the “failure to specify that the lease for the Parkersburg, W. Va., facility would not be construed as approval of co-locating BPD and FMS,” and the House of Representatives had not yet approved Treasury’s draft of changes on a lease for the Hyattsville facility.

Maryland Reps. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Donna Edwards, Chris Van Hollen and Elijah Cummings also have “engaged” the administration to head off the proposal, according to a statement from the National Treasury Employees Union, which praised the Maryland lawmakers for their efforts.

“The Maryland delegation has shown its commitment to listening to and representing the interests of its constituents while also urging the agency to conduct a thorough analysis of the relocation of jobs to ensure that the interests of taxpayers and the rights of federal employees are being protected,” NTEU President Colleen Kelley said.

“We will use every tool at our disposal to prevent unwanted relocations, ensure that the rights of the federal workers are protected, push for a thorough analysis on the impacts of any proposed relocations and make certain that all efforts are made to minimize the impact on employees,” Kelley added.

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