Lawmakers Urge 'Merit-Based' Furlough Decisions at Defense
April 24, 2013
A bipartisan group of 126 lawmakers is asking Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to “review sequestration-related actions” affecting civilian employees, especially furloughs, hiring freezes, and the firing of temporary and term personnel.
The letter, dated April 23 and signed by members of the House, asked Hagel to take a merit-based approach to furloughs and give managers additional discretion to implement cuts that “comply with sequestration.” The Defense Department is punishing agencies that complied with staff drawdowns in fiscal 2009 and 2010, while “appearing to reward” those that have not reduced their staffs yet, the lawmakers said.
“In essence, under the current furlough guidance, the more streamlined, efficient organizations are footing the bill for those that are still over strength,” they wrote.
The letter follows similar correspondence to Hagel from Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King. The Republican and the Independent questioned whether Defense’s across-the-board approach to furloughs to maintain fairness was worth the costs in readiness and morale.