Claremore Daily Progress

February 26, 2013

Many federal jobs could be eliminated

Tom Coburn
US Senator

WASHINGTON D.C. — With Congress facing sequestration like nearly every other federal agency, I conducted a top to bottom review of my office and eliminated seven full time positions over the past year while sending back more than $242,800 in office budget authority.  While this has required doing more with less, we have succeeded in maintaining the same quality of constituent services and level of representation with a leaner team.

Sequestration will require managers of other agencies to make similar decisions, and with smart leadership and a thoughtful re-evaluation of missions and setting of priorities, the quality of services can similarly be preserved.
At the same time the administration is warning sequestration could force laying off or furloughing U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents, Defense civilian employees, or food safety inspectors, the federal government is also soliciting applicants for numerous lower priority jobs.  Not filling the jobs advertised in just these ten vacancy announcements could save as much as $1.4 million that could be redirected towards more essential jobs being targeted for sequestration savings:
·A staff assistant at the Department Of Labor to answer phones, salary range from $51,630 to $81,204 per year;
·Ten drivers for the State Department, pay ranges from $22.76 to $26.45 per hour.
·A policy coordinator for the Department of Health and Human Services to attend and facilitate meetings and coordinate policies within the department, salary range from $51,630 to $81,204 per year;
·A Director for the Air Force History and Museums Policies and Programs to provide guidance of historical matters throughout the Department of the Air Force, salary ranges from $143,600 to $165,300 per year;
·An analyst for the Legislative Affairs Office of the Marine Corps to provide representation to Capitol Hill, salary range from $80,000 to $90,000 per year;
·A director for the Government Employee Services Division of the Department Of Agriculture improve services to federal employees,  salary ranges from $119,554 to $179,700 per year;
·A counsel for the Morris K. Udall Scholarship Foundation, salary range from $130,000 to $155,000 per year;
·An executive assistant at the Department of Agriculture Forest Service to prepare itineraries and briefing and information material packages, salary ranges from $47,448 to $57,408 per year; and
·An Executive Staff Officer for the Air Force to represent the Director of Staff at meetings, write draft reports, memos, and e-mails for the Director, and prepare responses to correspondence, e-mails, and requests for information, salary ranges from $71,674 to $93,175 per year.
 Are any of these positions more important than an air traffic controller, a border patrol officer, a food inspector, a TSA screener, or a civilian supporting our men and women in combat in Afghanistan?  I have attached a select list of these job vacancies now being advertised on which could be eliminated along with many other unfilled non-essential positions across the federal government.  Instituting such a hiring freeze and re-assigning any of the necessary duties associated with each to current employees will allow federal agencies to adapt to the current fiscal realities without laying off or furloughing civil servants who are performing truly critical or absolutely necessary functions.
Additionally, has the administration issued, or does it plan to issue, guidance to agencies regarding savings that could be achieved through attrition of non-essential positions? Thank you for your attention to this matter.  I would appreciate a response no later than April 1, 2013.  It is important that we as public officials lead by example and I look forward to continuing to work with you to save taxpayers money and better prioritize government spending.
Tom Coburn is a U.S. Senator for Oklahoma.