EPA employees Lou Reynolds (left) and Frank Borsuk search for fish in Wheeling Creek in West Virginia. (Eric Vance / EPA)
Many Environmental Protection Agency employees will receive information this week on their eligibility for early retirement and buyouts worth up $25,000, according to the agency’s deputy administrator, Bob Perciasepe.
The early-out offering, which recently received approval from the Office of Personnel Management and Office of Management and Budget, is linked to a broader workforce restructuring that aims to meet mission requirements, refocus business processes and increase support for employees to get their jobs done through training and other areas, Perciasepe said in an email to employees sent Feb. 7.
“All of these are central for EPA to operate as a high-performing organization,” he said.
Employees who accept the offer will have until April 4 to leave, he said; remaining staff will also be told of jobs for which they are eligible.
The email was released over the weekend by the American Federation of Government Employees local that represents many Chicago-area EPA employees. At the agency’s Region 5, based in Chicago and covering six states, early-retirement and buyouts will be offered to up to 146, or almost 8 percent, of approximately 1,160 employees, according to an official description also released by the union.
Nationwide, EPA had about 17,000 employees as of September, the most recent available OPM statistics indicate. The early-out offer is intended to trim about 1,000, according to John O’Grady, president of the local.
EPA has been hard-hit by budget cuts in recent years. Under the recently signed fiscal 2014 spending bill, the agency will get $8.2 billion, or almost two percent less than last year. Its workforce headcount of 17,000 was down more than 9 percent from September 2011, according to OPM.