Were you visited by the furlough fairy?

Tuesday - 9/10/2013, 2:00am EDT

Although many federal workers got tapped by the politically magic furlough wand, most federal agencies actually managed to escape them. How, as they say, can this be?

If you work for the Internal Revenue Service, you were furloughed without pay for several days while your fellow feds at Social Security weren't touched. How come?

If you're with Defense, the EPA or Housing and Urban Development (and were furloughed for six or seven days) how were your fellow car-poolers at GSA, Agriculture, and the Department of Veterans Affairs allowed to come to work? And get paid for same?

Why furloughs at the Office of Management and Budget but not the Office of Personnel Management down the street? Different whip-strokes for different folks?

Were all (or any) of those furloughs necessary? If so, why one place and not the other?

A lot of feds are asking, "Was this necessary?" And will it happen again or will it be layoffs, not furloughs, starting in the new fiscal year?

Here's a comment from a beyond the Beltway fed who says he sees both sides of the sequestration coin:

  • "On the one hand, I truly believe that the only way to get any federal agency to do more with less is to give it less to do anything with. That is — cut funding. Otherwise, federal agencies will always spend every dime they have, and moan about 'budget cuts' if they don't receive all the budget increases they request. And I think this sequestration-ing is going to continue, because nothing has happened to convince Congress that it's caused any real problems. Issues? Yes. Problems? Like you said, depends on who's counting.

    "On the other hand, I and plenty of my equally jaded and cynical coworkers are convinced that none of this furlough business was necessary. If it truly were necessary to save the dollars we were told needed to be saved, why were the number of furlough days reduced? After all, money you're allowed to 'reprogram' to meet certain shortfalls is still money that you spend, right? I think the administration and the executive agencies did their best 'wrist wringing' about all the catastrophic and dire consequences, found out nobody was listening, and said, 'Dang! Now we've gotta follow through and furlough these folks or they'll know we were just crying wolf.'

    "But — federal spending has been cut. And it seems like this sequestration bit is the only way yet discovered to actually get that accomplished." — Mike at Fort Knox, Ky.


NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

Compiled by Jack Moore

California residents are more likely to encounter the grizzly bear sewn onto their state's flag than to see one in nature. The last reported sighting of a California grizzly bear was all the way back in 1924.

(Source: Mental Floss)


MORE FROM FEDERAL NEWS RADIO

Congress' to-do list crowded with budget headaches
Congress returns to work today with a crowded agenda and little time. Lawmakers must come to agreement on 2014 funding before the fiscal year ends Sept. 30 or risk a government shutdown. Also on the agenda: coming up with an alternative to the automatic spending constraints known as sequestration and negotiating a raise in the government's borrowing limit.

Why performance ratings make my brain hurt
Most of today's performance rating processes are designed to tell employees they are not as good as they think they are. But what effect does that approach have on people?

Government charge card abuse a firing offense under new OMB guidelines
Federal employees who make illegal or improper purchases with government charge cards could face dismissal under new guidelines from the Office of Management and Budget. In a memo to the heads of agencies, OMB Director Sylvia Burwell laid out new steps to curb charge-card violations as part of the implementation of the 2012 Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act.