Fazed by phased retirement? Welcome to the club!

(Definition of the word “faze” from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: “… to cause (someone) to feel afraid or uncertain”’)

The folks who designed and promoted the government’s new phased retirement program predicted it would save the taxpayers something like $450 million over the next decade. Just how that figure was arrived at is part of Washington’s mysterious Gone With The Wind (I’ll worry about it tomorrow) process.

But while the projected savings might be in doubt,...

READ MORE

(Definition of the word “faze” from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: “… to cause (someone) to feel afraid or uncertain”’)

The folks who designed and promoted the government’s new phased retirement program predicted it would save the taxpayers something like $450 million over the next decade. Just how that figure was arrived at is part of Washington’s mysterious Gone With The Wind (I’ll worry about it tomorrow) process.

But while the projected savings might be in doubt, just about everybody figured that, well, by now, thousands, maybe tens of thousands of feds would be working part-time spending part of their time mentoring those who would replace them. What could possibly go wrong, right?

The Office of Personnel Management was almost universally criticized for taking well over a year to develop the “simple” PR guidelines. They pretty much give agencies a free hand to launch, run and manage their own programs within broad guidelines. When OPM finally unveiled the plan agencies were then free to move in the brave new world of phased retirement. What could possibly go wrong, right?

Many people expected the Defense Department would — as it did with buyouts in the 1990s — take the lead. Defense is not only the largest federal civilian operation. It is also considered one of the most innovative parts of government, especially when civil servants are involved. In addition to pioneering the idea of $25,000 buyouts, it also launched and ran the controversial Bush-era performance-based-pay system. Some people loved it and saw it as the wave of the future for IRS, Interior, GSA and other federal agencies. But federal unions opposed it and after a costly few years, it was phased out.

Now that phased retirement is the law-of-the-land, and the regs have been approved and issued, it’s like a big party when nobody shows up. Fewer than 100 feds have signed up for it. Mainly, some employees say, because their agencies aren’t offering it for a variety of reasons. For example:

“My agency did not offer it. They said that it wouldn’t work for them because they don’t have openings to fill behind the person who is in phased retirement. Doesn’t help much if there isn’t anyone to train. The buzz I hear is to let people leave their job but put them in a 6-month term position before they retire. This way the position is open for filling and the person in the term position is gone whether they like it or not when there term expires. Downside — it takes a good 6 to 9 months to fill a position these days!” — Gray-haired Fed

”I would assume that part of the problem is that the agencies would have to have a slot to put the part-timers into? And who has the staffing numbers to do that?

“I know when I first started with HUD in 1972, I was an urban intern. My job was to learn as much as I could about HUD/FHA. I was a student! Interns were an excellent initiative but since we were being educated, and no producing anything, the initiative did not last long. In fact, I was only an Intern for 9 months. The program slowly disappeared.” — Marc Harris

“Just to add my two cents: The 800-pouind gorilla in the room is the DoD. And it was only two months ago that the DoD finally announced that it would have a phased retirement program. But now we have to wait for each department within the DoD (Army, Navy, USAF, USMC, DLA, DISA, etc.) to actually publish their own implementing instructions. When will this be? Maybe another two years!

“I believe that once phased retirement is in place for all DoD employees, this program will finally take off.” —Jeff E.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Michael O’Connell

A young male turkey is called a “jake” and a young female turkey is called a “jenny”.

Source: Vegan Peace

More from Federal News Radio