GAO contemplates layoffs

The government's watchdog is weighing a range of options, including layoffs, to confront what the agency expects will be major cuts to its fiscal 2012 budget.

"We're reviewing all elements of the budget and all aspects of our operation: headquarters, field, mission [and] mission support," Chuck Young, managing director of public affairs at the Government Accountability Office, said in an email. "We'll be assessing all of the options under consideration with an expectation that we need to make decisions early in the fiscal year to gain the economic benefits that we need," he said, adding that no final decisions have been made.

The House this summer passed a fiscal 2012 legislative branch spending bill that includes a 6.4 percent cut over fiscal 2011 to GAO's budget. The Senate Appropriations Committee last week approved its 2012 legislative branch spending bill with an even larger reduction over the watchdog's fiscal 2011 budget -- 7.6 percent. "We just recently received the Senate mark," Young said. "These are major cuts."

As part of its contract, GAO told its union that reductions in force were being considered. The agency is obligated to discuss possible RIFs with its union and solicit input from members before any final decisions on layoffs are made. The agency last had RIFs in 2005.

"We are very concerned, but we see this as a very positive thing that we are involved in the discussion of how the agency may address whatever the shortfall is in the budget," said Ron La Due Lake, president of GAO's Employees Organization, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers Local 1921. La Due Lake said it's been challenging having a discussion in the absence of a final appropriations bill, but the two sides are talking.

He said both the agency and the union are concerned about the extent of likely cuts. "I don't believe anyone was expecting it," he said.

In August, GAO sought permission to offer buyouts, or voluntary separation incentives, to 56 employees. The application process closed on Tuesday.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.