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Shows & Panels
Buyouts: To Be Or Not To Be?
Wednesday - 8/17/2011, 2:00am EDT
Nobody can say for sure, but the odds are good that more agencies will be offering VSIPs ($25,000 buyouts) and VERAs (early retirement with an immediate annuity and continuing health benefits ) over the next couple of months. Under a VERA, workers can retire at age 50 with 20 years service, or at any age with 25 years of federal service.
For the past 11 years various experts have predicted a massive brain drain, a retirement tsunami that will — when and if it happens — strip Uncle Sam of some of his most experienced workers. It hasn't happened yet and — given the unemployment rate in the private sector — it is unlikely the government will be brain dead for some time to come. Still...
There are several things that might happen that might jump start retirements:
If the pay freeze is extended another year or two that could be the last straw for many feds, especially those with skills that are easily transferable to the private sector. Requiring workers to kick in more toward their retirement (which would produce a permanent drop in take-home pay) could also convince long-time feds it is time to go. Especially if a buyout was available.
Workers in most agencies should have a better picture of how their budgets will look over the next few weeks and what that does for their buyout chances.
What Next? That special bipartisan congressional panel is supposed to make recommendations to accomplish major spending cuts. For the federal family this could include an extended pay freeze, benefits changes and higher health premiums. Meantime the U.S. Postal Service is looking to trim 38 percent of its workforce and is exploring the idea of getting out of the FEHBP health program. So what are the odds? Today at 10 a.m. on our Your Turn radio show Federal Times senior writers Steve Losey and Sean Reilly look at the laundry list of hits feds and retirees may be asked to take and what it would mean to your time in government, your pay and your pension. You can listen on your computer or, if you are near a radio in the D.C. area, on 1500 AM.
Feds Really Do Have Talent
Housing and Urban Development's Pamela Lawrence won top honors at yesterday's Feds Feed Families talent show at HUD. Second place honors were split between the Federal Communications Commission's band (Andrew Bush, Pat DeGraba, Rafel Fernandez, Bernard Gorden, John Healey, David Savolaine and Victoria Gaston), and Shonna James from the Department of Homeland Security.
NEARLY USELESS FACTOID
A Japanese forensics expert has claimed that by analyzing the skeletal structure of the Mona Lisa, he can accurately re-create her voice, Time reports. For what it's worth, he said her voice was low for a woman.
MORE FROM FEDERAL NEWS RADIO
Buyout Rollout: A list of agencies offering buyouts, early outs
As the list of agencies grows, Federal News Radio helps you keep track.
OPM approves GAO buyouts
GAO is hoping to reduce its workforce by 56 positions in anticipation of a smaller fiscal 2012 budget.