National President Dougan to House Committee: Non-Strategic Workforce Cuts Hurt Taxpayers

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Contact: Cory Bythrow, Communications Director
Phone: (202) 216-4458


Washington, D.C. – This morning William R. Dougan, National President of the National Federation of Federal Employees, a national union representing 110,000 federal workers government-wide, delivered testimony before the House Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service, and Labor Policy on the matter of “Rightsizing the Federal Workforce.”


Dougan defended the scope and mission of the federal workforce, emphasizing that the true measure of government’s size is not the number of federal employees, as others at the hearing claimed. The true measure of government, Dougan contends, is dollars and cents.


“Reducing an agency’s workforce without a corresponding reduction in the agency’s mandate actually increases the size of government,” said Dougan. “In the end, there are generally no savings derived from arbitrary staff reductions; rather a cost-shift moves resources away from the federal workforce to contractors. This is a pointless exercise that reduces government efficiency, hurts the services that federal agencies provide, and sticks taxpayers with a bigger bill.”


Also testifying before the committee were House Representatives Cindy Lummis (R-WY) and Tom Marino (R-PA), who advocated for their proposals to reduce the federal workforce through attrition and institute an across-the-board federal hiring freeze, respectively. Dougan was quick to point out that these approaches had more to do with scoring political points than making a good faith effort to get spending in check.


“If Congress is serious about truly reducing the size of government, then lawmakers are going to have to make the tough choices about which programs to reshape, scale back, or discontinue altogether,” said Dougan. “A non-strategic, broad-brushed approach to cost-cutting that simply mandates significant personnel reductions in federal agencies will fail to achieve savings and will cause wastefulness and disarray in numerous agencies throughout the government.”


Dougan argued further that these policies would have a major impact on the government’s ability to deliver the critical services that the American people rely on. From veterans hospitals, to passport offices and national parks, workforce reductions in already understaffed federal agencies would seriously diminish the quality of key services.


“Are we really going to scale back inspections of our food and water supply that keep our families and our communities safe,” Dougan asked? “Are we going to reduce the number of men and women we have battling forest fires that threaten hundreds of communities throughout our country every year? That is the reality of what these staff cuts mean for the American people.”


Full Oral Testimony (PDF):
Full Written Testimony (PDF):  


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