Federal employees are aware of the huge deficits now being generated by the Federal Government. That, at least, is probably the primary reason that 68% of respondents in a recent Fedsmith.com internet poll believe that their agencies will be required to reduce expenses in the next fiscal year.
That may not be particularly surprising since the Federal workforce is well educated and presumably reads or watches news programs highlighting the deficit problem.
But what may surprise you is that 64% of respondents said that there are areas in which their agencies could reduce expenses. The biggest area in which respondents thought expenses could be cut was administration with about 24% of people responding selecting this option. Virtually the same percentage of respondents also thought that travel expenses could be cut for their agency. 20% highlighted staffing levels as an area that could be cut followed by “agency program costs” (16%) or training (8%). The other respondents picked “other” as an area for cutting expenses.
We received several insightful comments from readers as to how expenses in government could be reduced.
For example, one human resources specialist noted that grade inflation and unnecessary people performing the same function are rampant in his agency. The reason, in his opinion, is that classification authority has been delegated to managers to decide the grade of the position. The result has been a large number of new administrative people at grade 12 and above all performing the same basic function in different parts of the agency. If this agency had to run a reduction-in-force to get rid of excessive staff people, it could not do so, says the reader, as jobs are routinely classified incorrectly.
Another reader notes that having to use the government contract air carrier and government travel office is costing the agency as much as 48% more for each ticket. This reader, who lives in Alaska, says that the existing system costs his agency a significant amount of money that could be used for performing the mission of the agency instead of paying higher costs for travel required by using a contract carrier. He states that lower cost airfares are available through the Internet for many trips with the same flexibility in a ticket purchased through a central system but that employees are not allowed to do a cost comparison and purchase the cheaper ticket.