After buyouts, GPO's workforce at lowest levels in century

Tuesday - 1/24/2012, 5:58pm EST

The Government Printing Office has announced more than 300 employees left the agency in the second half of 2011, mostly because of the buyouts and early retirements the agency offered last year. GPO's workforce now stands at its lowest levels in a century, the agency said in a release.

The agency responsible for printing the Federal Register and Congressional Record each day announced buyout offers in June 2011. GPO targeted 330 employees for early outs — or about 15 percent of its workforce.

In all, 247 employees opted for a buyout or early retirement over the six months they were offered. Meanwhile, another 65 employees left the agency for other reasons during the same period.

In a release, the agency said the 312 total departures will save $17.9 million for the rest of the fiscal year and an additional $23.9 million in fiscal-year 2013.

"Our goal is to do more with less in serving Congress, the White House, federal agencies and the public," said Davita Vance-Cooks, the acting head of GPO. "The buyout we conducted last year will make GPO more efficient in meeting the information dissemination needs of our customers as the digital information platform for the federal government."

Like most agencies, GPO took a funding cut this year. Congress appropriated $126.2 million — nearly $9 million less than last year and $22.3 million less than the President's official budget request.

The agency was prepared for a tightening of the congressional purse strings. When it offered the buyouts last year, GPO cited projections of a reduced budget and "overall government cutbacks."

The agency has also seen its workforce dwindle over the past 40 years for other reasons. In the mid-1970s, GPO employed 8,000 people. Since then, its workforce has shrunk by 70 percent — to about 2,200 — as new technologies have reduced the need for a large pool of employees.

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