From the desk of President Beth Perkins...
The Presidents and Vice Presidents of the employee associations (NASE, NACS, NADD, NAOFEC and NASCOE) were invited to a conference call late yesterday (January 22) with the Administrator and his staff from the National Office. Everyone was updated on the call back of FSA employees starting Thursday, January 24.
Mr. Fordyce explained that FSA employees were changed from a “non-excepted” or “excepted” status to an “excepted on call” status under the guidance of OMB. The “excepted on call” status allows for more flexibility during this furlough period. He also stated that the call back of employees was necessary to avoid an impact to our customers and to maintain the integrity of our programs while protecting government assets and property.
A question was asked about unemployment compensation during this furlough, especially now being called back. The National Office is having conference calls with the Department of Labor tomorrow (January 23) to discuss how this call back will affect unemployment benefits. More information will be provided from National Office in the next few days.
As many of you have seen, a news release has been issued by the Department to notify customers that offices will be open to provide more services. We were also told that support services will be available to us through the FPAC Business Center, Finance Office and KCMO. OCIO/CTS services were uncertain at the time of our call.
There were many excellent comments/questions asked by the associations during our call. NACS made a very valid statement: “FSA employees are dedicated to providing services to our customers, but this call back to work without pay is creating an undue hardship on our employees in the form of commuting costs, day care, and routine work- related costs”. Mr. Fordyce said he recognizes the strain this is causing employees and is directing state offices to provide guidance to local managers to be as flexible as possible during this period. Mr. Fordyce also stated that no employees can be charged leave during this furlough if they have appointments or scheduling conflicts that cause them to be away from the office.
Some other points of interest: