The very, very small $40,000 buyout club

When the Defense Department got the authority to offer $40,000 buyouts last year, lots of people—from the EPA to Departments of State and Agriculture—were delighted. Why?

Because feds who wouldn’t consider the standard $25,000 (before deductions) buyout were more likely to pull the plug for almost twice as much money. Many younger and mid-career workers also would welcome a surge in buyout triggered retirements which would open up the clogged promotion pipeline in many office....

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When the Defense Department got the authority to offer $40,000 buyouts last year, lots of people—from the EPA to Departments of State and Agriculture—were delighted. Why?

Because feds who wouldn’t consider the standard $25,000 (before deductions) buyout were more likely to pull the plug for almost twice as much money. Many younger and mid-career workers also would welcome a surge in buyout triggered retirements which would open up the clogged promotion pipeline in many office. Some retirement eligible feds hoped (assumed, prayed) that Congress would soon extend the super-VSIP (voluntary separation payment authority) to other agencies. After all there is precedent.

In the 1990s, when the Clinton administration was dramatically downsizing government, Congress OK’d $25,000 buyouts (roughly $17,000 to $18,000 after deductions). They were first limited to the Defense Department. The idea was to entice older workers with veterans preference into retirement so the job cuts wouldn’t affect more recent hires who would have been hit by the last-hired-first-fired rules of downsizing. It worked. Thousands took the buyouts which were more than enough to buy a decent car. Later the buyout authority was extended to other agencies, subject to approval by the OPM and OMB. But that was then, this is now…

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee last year approved $40,000 buyouts for all agencies. But no action in the House. At least for now.

While many people expected that the new crop of $40k retirees would be a bumper one, finding anybody who got an offer—much less took it—has been akin to getting an actual glimpse of Big Foot. Or The Loch Ness Monster.

Late last year I found (actually he found me) a Defense civilian in the Philadelphia area who said he was offered, and took, a $40,000 buyout. I wish I had had the nerve to request a selfie with him, but I didn’t.

This year, FNR reporter Nicole Ogrysko tracked down another DoD civilian in the Baltimore area. His job was being moved to another facility in Maryland and he was offered and took a buyout.

That’s it. There are surely more (aren’t there?) but where are they? What kind of jobs do they have (or had)? How many buyouts are available? What’s the target for this year? Does the continuous use of CRs (continuing resolutions) have any impact on DoD downsizing and rightsizing? Almost certainly, but the picture is cloudy.

If you or a friend know of any $40,000 buyout activity we’d like to hear from you. No names if you prefer. No locations if the buyout takers want that kept confidential. But it would be nice to know if there are more than two. And better yet to know how many more.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By David Thornton

The largest prime number found so far is 277,232,917 – 1.

Source: New Scientist

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