(Washington, DC) The Federal government’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the agency responsible for hiring Federal employees and coordinating benefits, retirements, and other services, announced on January 22 that it was laying off 300 employees in the name of budget reductions. And the department suffering from the layoffs is even more shocking … to some.
The 300 employees come from OPM’s Human Resources Solutions (HRS) office. Apparently, OPM feels that cutting 50% of employees from a department that performs arguably the most important function of OPM – customer service – is a good idea.
No middle- or upper-management employee will be subject to the Reduction-in-Force (RIF).
The RIF will be effective March 28, 2014. Once complete, interested former employees can place their names into a “job bank” that will allow OPM to place experienced employees in vacant positions.
Except there really are no vacant positions.
“We’re concerned that these people are being given false hope,” said a spokesman for the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), speaking on condition of anonymity. “They’re being told their names will be given high priority, but there are only about 50 jobs nationwide for the 300. And add the 300 from this round to the 300 who were forced to leave in June 2013, and you can do the math. It’s not hopeless, but it’s not exactly hopeful.”
“OPM takes the job placement of these RIFed employees very seriously,” countered a spokesman for OPM, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We’re even considering turning the job-seeking process for these unfortunates into a reality TV show. That should lift their spirits while replenishing OPM’s coffers.”
The reaction from members of the public has been mixed. Some voiced genuine concern for the OPM employees losing their jobs through no fault of their own. Others believe that any reduction in the Federal workforce is a good idea, even if it means services will be curtailed. Still others, who have used the OPM Web site, USAJobs, to look for Federal work say it’s a matter of Karma.
“They provide little or no customer service when using that [explicative] USAJobs,” said a frustrated job seeker, speaking on condition of anonymity. “I haven’t been able to find a job in the nine years I’ve been looking. Whenever I contact one of the HR offices, I get an automated reply from E-mail or a busy signal on the phone. So, what can I say? What goes around comes around.”