Furlough fallout predicted at Transportation Dept.

By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor

As the political drama that caused the furlough of 2,000 Department of Transportation workers unfolds, Antonyio Johnson, local president of AFGE 3313 offers encouragement.

“This situation will be resolved in the very, very near future,” Johnson told Federal News Radio. “We’re hoping within the next week. As of right now, it’s uncertain and it’s adding additional stress to employees. Of course, uncertainty always does.”

John Palguta, Vice President for Policy at the Policy at the Partnership for Public Service, has been there, done that when he rode out the Shutdown of ’95 as a federal employee. He recalls it as “frustrating.”

There’s frustration, first of all, in not being able to do a job that you feel is an important job to be done, and then secondly, if it looks like it’s going to go on for a while, you do start to wonder about finances. The frustration and the uncertainty does not help job satisfaction.

The fallout from the furlough won’t take long to be felt. When DoT employees return to their desks, many will find the 2010 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey waiting.

“Is (the furlough) going to influence how they respond?” asks Palguta, and answers himself. “Possibly.”

Palguta said the Partnership uses the OPM data for their Best Places to Work rankings. The furlough couldn’t have come at a worse time for DoT, said Palguta. “Out of the 30 large agencies in our 2009 rankings, they ranked 30th.”

The biggest impact on the rankings, predicted Palguta, will be as a result from one particular question in the survey . “That’s a question that could take a hit,” said Palguta, “in terms of the willingness of employees to recommend the Federal Highway Administration as a place to work.”

In the long term, Palguta said the fallout will be “a blip” and we’ll be fine. “Government,” he said, “keeps on going.”

In the meantime, Transportation feds wait.


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