Stewart Lee Udall Department of the Interior Building

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Interior: No plans to implement 7 percent staff reduction

Memo to OMB was purely hypothetical scenario, spokesman said.

A memo sent to the Office of Management and Budget supposedly outlining potential staff reductions, obtained by Federal Times, is a “strategic workforce planning” exercise with no bearing on actual staff plans, Interior Department spokesman Adam Fetcher said.

“We regularly undertake strategic workforce planning as part of our ongoing efforts to look at the skills we need to provide services to the American taxpayer in the future,” Fetcher told Government Executive. “There is standing OMB guidance to conduct regular exercises regarding potential future workforce needs and skills gaps and potential areas for reductions, focusing on those achieved through attrition, and such an exercise has been conducted in recent months.”

The memo, which Federal Times published Tuesday, was reported as a potential framework for how to cut seven percent of Interior’s staff. Both Interior and OMB said this was not the case.

According to Interior’s published 2013 budget proposal, the department expects a 0.8 percent workforce reduction (around 590 employees) in the coming year.

“As part of the variety of planning activities that agencies engage in with OMB, Interior conducted a planning exercise, not because we are pursuing such a policy, but in the interest of prudent and responsible management,” OMB spokeswoman Moira Mack told Government Executive. “Our workforce plan for 2013 was published in the President’s Budget and that remains our workforce plan.”

Correction: The original version of this story contained faulty information based on and attributed to a Federal Times report.