Uncle Sam: When in Doubt Move Something

Wednesday - 8/4/2010, 4:00am EDT

Federal operations move all the time. The purpose of relocating people and functions can be as important and noble as national security, deficit reduction, greater efficiency and creation of jobs.

The moves can also be for political reasons. Where politicians bring home the bacon and have it named after themselves. Many western Pennsylvanians and most West Virginians are not far from tributes to John Murtha or Robert Byrd.

Or moves can be for very personal reasons ranging from empire-building to romance.

In most cases, communities that get new areas and then get new federal jobs are happy to have the people and payroll. The affluent Washington area is often on the receiving end with people being transferred here from other places.

The BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) moves have brought a number of civilian Defense jobs to metro Washington. Another 27,000 are coming here in the next couple of years. Most will go an already-traffic choked portion of Northern Virginia.

But whether big or small, moving can be traumatic for the people going from one part of the organizational chart to another.

Example:

Over the next three years General Service Administration will be "migrating" activities (and 84 jobs) of its Arlington, Va., Integrated Workplace Acquisition Center to Philadelphia.

Philadelphia is the mid-Atlantic regional center for GSA but it doesn't cover the Virginia cities of Falls Church, Arlington, Fairfax and a couple of suburban counties that generate a lot of business. Workers who can't or won't move (some have been here a long time) will be offered other jobs with GSA.

Several GSA employees said the move has been rumored for months.

John Hanley, president of GSA locals of the National Federation of Federal Employees, says the union wants to talk with GSA leaders in hopes of stopping the move.

Hanley said those who don't relocate will be "moving into completely different business lines" in other parts of GSA here and "that's not good for their careers...it sure looks like GSA is pushing them out the retirement door." Many of the workers are minorities. For those who don't/won't/can't move, replacements will be found from the Philadelphia area.

President Obama issued an executive order telling federal officials to deal with unions as partners, and consult with them on labor-management issues. Hanley said he was told by a GSA official that the Arlington-to-Philadelphia move was approved last October, before the EO was issued, and formally announced Monday.

In an announcement to employees, GSA said it plans for a "seamless transtion" and that workers would be given any necessary training and that the move is being made "in order to better customer requirements."

So how do the folks involved feel about living in the City of Brotherly love? Great baseball team. Great food. Or maybe they are recalling the words of old-time comedian W.C. Fields who once said "I once spent a year in Philadelphia. I think it was on a Sunday!"

NSPS, TSP, Legislative Update

Today at 10 a.m. on Your Turn with Mike Causey we'll talk with Jessica Klement of the Federal Managers Association about the NSPS transition, and what feds can expect from a lame duck Congress. Greg Long and Tom Trabucco from the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board will talk about about your Thrift Savings Plan. That's today, 10 a.m. EDT at www.federalnewsradio.com on your computer or 1500 AM in the Washington area.

To reach me: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com


Nearly Useless Factoid
by Suzanne Kubota

Can openers were invented 48 years after cans. In the meantime, cans were opened with a hammer and chisel.


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