The federal employees who don't work for taxpayers

Posted in the Stroudsburg Forum

Since: Aug 07

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#1 Feb 27, 2013

In a new report issued on Feb. 15, just before a federal holiday and a congressional recess, the Office of Personnel Management announced that the government paid more than $156 million in 2011 for some of its employees to work as representatives for government unions, up from $139 million in 2010 and $129 million in 2009.

Government employees spent more than 3.4 million hours in 2011 not working on government duties, up from 3.1 million in 2010 and 3 million in 2009.

How about eliminating these hours during the sequester ... and thereafter?

The time that federal workers spend working for their unions and not for taxpayers goes by the Orwellian name of "official time." According to OPM, "Official time, broadly defined, is paid time off from assignedGovernment duties to represent a union or its bargaining unit employees

Employees on "official time" represent unions such as the American Federation of Government Employees, the National Treasury Employees Union and the National Federation of Federal Employees. OPM does not report numbers of government employees on "official time," only numbers of hours.

For instance, the Department of Transportation spent $17.7 million in 2011 on 264,562 hours of official time, including salaries and benefits for both full-time and part-time employees. Some department employees spent part of their day working for the government union, and others worked for their union full-time.

Americans for Limited Government, a conservative nonprofit organization, filed a Freedom of Information Act request for numbers of full-time employees on official time to all federal agencies in 2012.

According to a letter from Kathy Ray, FOIA officer at the Department of Transportation, 35 active workers did no work at all for the department in 2012.

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