Agencies should consider furloughs, hiring freezes, buyouts, early retirements and cutting contract employees as ways to reduce workforce costs if across-the-board spending cuts begin March 1, the acting head of the Office of Management and Budget said in guidance posted Monday.
Hundreds of thousands of federal employees could be furloughed, and services ranging from food inspections to prison security would be affected, Jeffrey Zients said.
Zients’ three-page government memo, similar to guidance released Jan. 10 by the Defense Department, is OMB’s first significant public policy statement on sequestration since late July when it advised agencies to continue normal operations. Among other contingency moves, he said, agencies should:
- Review grants and contracts for possible cost savings.
- Use as much flexibility as possible to “reduce operational risks and minimize impacts on the agency’s core mission.”
- Consider transferring or “reprogramming” funds.
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