Every administration has goals and promises to meet for its constituents. Each one seems to have a focus on reducing the federal workforce and cutting their pay and benefits. This is nothing new. For many years now, the federal workforce has been reduced by attrition. Do you know the real meaning of attrition? Focus on the words “strength or effectiveness.” Is this what you want?
What is attrition? I think this one is most appropriate when addressing the federal workforce.
- the action or process of gradually reducing the strength or effectiveness of someone or something through sustained attack or pressure.
“the council is trying to wear down the opposition by attrition”
synonyms: wearing down, wearing away, weakening, debilitation, enfeebling, sapping, attenuation; gradual loss
“the battle would result in further attrition of their already lame naval force”
This is a comment I support about attrition – “Attrition, due to retirement or death, depletes the organization of valuable expertise and talent because no employees are replaced after the employment relationship ends.”
Much of federal employment attrition at this time is due to retirements. This is the most problematic way to reduce the federal workforce. When the knowledge and expertise leaves any organization and that organization does not have back up for that loss, problems ensue. Even private industry understands this.
As example, an experienced food inspector retires and is not replaced due to attrition. No one comes in with the experience to know what to look for to keep us safe from dangerous food imports or just problematic food grown and sold for our ingestion in general. Not good.
“Willy nilly” attrition of the federal workforce has been risky historically and continues to be so. Administrations have used attrition to reduce the federal workforce for many years. Particularly those agencies not related to defense and national security. How much can this very narrow segment take?
My experience – for much of my last 10-13 years, at least, of civil service I was asked to take on the jobs of those employees who have left the organization in which I was employed. My manager said to me “… is leaving, we need you to take on their responsibilities until we find a replacement.” No replacement found. This happened again and again.
“Oh by the way, since you know contracting and budgeting, would you take on these responsibilities until we find a replacement?” Okay, I’ll do it. Again, no replacement. After a few occurrences (and no commensurate pay increase) you find yourself handling the work of several employees that has to continue for which no replacements will be ever come.
How much more can federal employees not in security and defense related positions take? This is not the real issue. How much can you take? How often have you needed help and no one answered the phone? Who do you blame for this?
Think about it.
Stop blaming the agency. The agency can only do what its leadership (Congress) provides the resources and budget for it to do.
Take off your blinders. Understand the responsibilities of your Representatives and call them out on it.