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Budget calls for staffing increases at VA, Treasury; cuts at DoD, SSA

Feb. 13, 2012 - 06:00AM   |  
By STEPHEN LOSEY   |   Comments
An Iraq War veteran is seen getting treatment at a Veterans Affairs hospital in 2009. The VA is among the winners in the FY2013 budget released Monday, with the agency slated to add 4,300 jobs.
An Iraq War veteran is seen getting treatment at a Veterans Affairs hospital in 2009. The VA is among the winners in the FY2013 budget released Monday, with the agency slated to add 4,300 jobs. (Getty Images file photo)

The Obama administration plans to add 2,400 new employees to the federal workforce in fiscal 2013, a nearly flat 0.1 percent increase to 2.1 million civilian non-postal employees, according to the budget released today.

But at the agency level, there are winners and losers.

Among the winners:

The Veterans Affairs Department would get 4,300 new employees, which would represent the largest numerical boost in the government and a 1.4 percent increase to about 306,600 employees.

The Treasury Department would hire 3,600 new workers, a 3.3 percent increase to about 111,800 employees.

Losers include:

The Defense Department is looking at cuts of 7,500 civilian employees, a 1 percent decline to 756,800 civilians.

The Social Security Administration is facing a 3.1 percent cut of 2,000 to 63,400 employees.

Civilian personnel costs in the executive branch both pay and benefits are projected to increase 1.8 percent next year to nearly $246 billion.

But the Obama administration expects to save more than $27 billion over the next decade by requiring federal employees to pay more toward their retirements. The 1.2 percentage point contribution increase would be phased in over three years, beginning in 2013. It is expected to save $898 million in 2013 alone, and by 2022 save nearly $3.5 billion.

Also Obama reiterated his call first made in his September deficit reduction plan to create a Commission on Federal Public Service Reform to find ways to modernize the government's pay and personnel system. That commission would be made up of lawmakers, members of the government's labor-management partnership council, private-sector representatives, and academic experts.

"Federal managers and employees need a modernized personnel system that reflects the reality of the 21st century where agencies offer compensation that reflects market competition for employees, facilitate career-development mobility across agencies and with the private sector, address poor performers consistently and fairly, develop staff, and motivate better performance using the best evidence-based public and private sector practices," the budget said.

There has been no progress on creating this commission since it was first proposed in September.

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