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:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


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