FCC Employees Face Furloughs Under Sequestration, Agency Says

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By Paul Barbagallo  


The Federal Communications Commission's Office of Managing Director has told employees to prepare for the possibility of being temporarily furloughed as a result of sequestration.

In an email to employees obtained by BNA, the agency suggested that such an option may be unavoidable.

“We will use any and all flexibilities we have to protect our core operations and mission. However, our ability to do so will be limited by the fixed nature of the cuts imposed by the sequestration statute,” the email stated. “As a result, we are closely examining contracts and other forms of expenditures across the commission to determine where we can reduce costs. In many cases, this could mean making cuts to programs or curtailing spending on contracts. We will also take steps, wherever possible, to cut operational or administrative costs in areas such as travel, training, facilities, and supplies.”

The email added: “With respect to furloughs, should we have to pursue this unfortunate course of action, let me assure you that all affected employees would be provided at least 30 days' notice before the agency executes a furlough. We will also engage in discussions with employee unions as appropriate, to ensure that any furloughs are applied in a fair and appropriate manner.”

$28 Million Cut in FY 2013

Under sequestration, which took effect March 1, FCC's budget will be cut by $28 million for fiscal year 2013, according to a preliminary estimate released by the Office of Management and Budget last September.

Commenting on the issue the week of Feb. 18 following a speech to the Federal Communications Bar Association, Republican FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai said he did not know exactly what cuts would be made under sequestration, but expressed deep concern about the possibility.

“We try to stay within our very limited budgets, so cutting more from that bone is going to be pretty difficult. I'm not looking forward to it,” Pai said.