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GovExec: Analyzing Federal Employee Buyouts

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With the ongoing debate on Capitol Hill about shrinking the government, federal agencies are already making efforts to reduce the workforce. The federal government offered buyouts to thousands of employees this year, and Kellie Lunnie, senior reporter at Government Executive magazine, talks with WAMU Morning Edition Host Matt McCleskey about what buyouts could mean for the federal workforce. 

On why buyouts are happening now: "Agencies are under the gun to cut costs," Lunnie says. "The incentive for them is to offer buyouts for employees to do that, in order to avoid more severe consequences, which could include layoffs or furloughs."

On which agencies are offering the most buyouts: "The postal service is offering the bulk of the buyouts, about 7,500 [of 20,000 offered], but they have had severe financial problems so that's why they're really pushing them," she says. 

On whether the buyouts will be a boon for contractors: "The idea is not to have to fill those with contractors, but … in the '90s, during the clinton admin's downsizing, there were many buyouts offered," she says. "What happened was there was a hollowing out at certain agencies, and that resulted in more hiring of contractors."

On whether buyouts mean more work for other federal employees: "Whether there are buyouts or not, federal workers are probably going to have to work harder as we go into Fiscal Year 2012 and 2013, just because there isn't enough money to go around and everybody's doing more with less," says Lunnie.

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