Sequestration is literally heating things for at least one federal agency, a government executive is charging.
In order to cut costs, one agency decided to “raise building-set temperatures to 80 degrees,” which the executive said was hurting employee morale, according to a new report made public this week. That’s warmer than the Occupational Safety and Health Administration-recommended 68- to 76-degree range for office temperatures.
The report, “Reflections of Presidential Distinguished Ranked Employees” quoted gripes from winners of the Presidential Distinguished Rank, the top award given to federal employees, less than two months after the sequestration began on March 1. Published by the Senior Executive Association Professional Development League, the report was made public this week by GovExec. Neither the agency nor employees quoted were identified.
“To make matters worse, you hear people on the Hill saying, ‘Well, what’s the big deal about raising the temperature a little – or furloughing an employee for one day a period?’” another executive was quoted as saying in the report.
Several comments were given at a meeting of the government 54 employees at an April 24 gathering of the Presidential Distinguished rank employees.
The remarks generally reflected employees who felt they were “damned if we do and damned if we don’t,” when it comes to dealing with budget makers on Capitol Hill.
“If the problems do occur, there will be the casting of blame,” an employee said.
Another said, “Somebody up on the Hill is going to say, ‘See, they were just hiding all the fat. We knew it was there. They managed a 5 percent cut. Next year, let’s hit them with 10,” according to the report.
Sequestration is a 3 percent reduction in the rate of spending growth for fiscal year 2013. Sequestration took effect on March 1 and could last through 2021 unless Congress and the president agree on a budget to end it.