Buyouts: From off-the-rack to tailor made

Friday - 2/14/2014, 2:00am EST

Now that early-outs (VERAs) and more limited buyouts (VSIPs) are starting to pop up, the obvious question for most people in government is simple: What's in it for me?

Younger and mid-career employees may love and respect their elderly colleagues. But...

When a long-time veteran leaves his or her job it can mean the chance for advancement, more training and a promotion for those left behind. So lots of people are asking when/if their agencies are going to drop the good news bomb?

Good question.

Not so easy to answer in part because the government has changed dramatically between now and the 1980s when buyouts ($25,000 payments pre-deductions) went to tens of thousands of people. Along with VERAs (for people age 50 with 20 years or anyone with 25 years of federal/military service).

The buyouts then were aimed at blue-collar workers in shipyards and depots, and mid-level white-collar employees whose service time and veterans preference status made them immune to layoffs. Many people got buyouts, a few were laid off (RIFfed) and lots of jobs (including checking security clearances) were farmed out to the private sector.

Buyouts 21st century style are going to be fewer, further between and, in many cases, tailored to certain occupations, grade levels or geographic areas.

The poster child for a 2014 style buyout is the Environmental Protection Agency. The new round it is offering is specific as to who, what and where. They are aimed at specific groups of employees here in D.C., Cincinnati and the Raleigh-Durham-Carey Research Triangle in North Carolina, among other areas.

The EPA buyouts will cover 19 offices in nearly all of the agency's 10 regions. Most of the targeted employees are in GS-13 through GS-15 jobs and they must be off the payroll by early April. Occupations which can take the EPA buyouts in Region 5 (most of the Midwest) include attorney advisors, program managers and environmental engineers.

Bottom line: Most agencies are likely to offer VERAs (early outs) without a buyout. The few that do both early outs and buyouts are likely to tailor them along the very targeted lines of the EPA early-out buyout. Reason: For control purposes. An EPA spokeswoman told Federal News Radio that normal attrition is unpredictable and that EPA "has been challenged in its ability to acquire new talent, build diversity and develop new skills."


NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

Compiled by Jack Moore

The Adidas and Puma shoe companies were founded by two feuding German brothers after World War II.

(Source: OMG-Facts)


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