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"Essential vs. Non-Essential Gov't Workers" How Many?

 

   


big kahuna

Apr 6, 11 14:08

Post #1 of 16 (5057 views)
"Essential vs. Non-Essential Gov't Workers" How Many? Quote | Reply

Say the government actually DOES shut down (right now, I don't see it, but stranger things have happened). How many civil servants are going to be counted as being "essential" (and not subject to furlough) and how many will be considered "non-essential," and therefore subject to furlough? This begs the question, of course, as to just which government employees REALLY are essential, and which ones aren't? And what happens if we managed to get along fine without all those non-essential folks? I'm NOT saying they then should all be let go, because I understand the nuance in the government definition of essential versus non-essential employees, but do we really need all the government employees we have at present? How many have experienced a "RIF" (reduction in force) in the past? Or ended up on what the feds call the "stopper list?" I'm mainly just curious. I'm sure there's some government lawyer here who works in Commerce or the EPA or something who could answer this.

Also, I've heard that something like 800k employees are either essential or that only 800k out of the total government employee workforce would be sent home. Which is it?


albarina

Apr 6, 11 14:35

Post #2 of 16 (5045 views)
Re: "Essential vs. Non-Essential Gov't Workers" How Many? [big kahuna] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I can only speak for my agency (and well, I can't really speak for it), our furlough plans call for really minimum manning just to get by. SESers and the military are not furloughed so they'll be in but we are grappling with contracting officer/COR functions. In the short-term we'll be okay; our contracts are already funded until May and we can, short-term, have maybe one COR work for all of our contracts but that can't be sustained. Interesting times.


Tridiot

Apr 6, 11 15:20

Post #3 of 16 (5025 views)
Re: "Essential vs. Non-Essential Gov't Workers" How Many? [big kahuna] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

800k estimated to be furloughed, after that the numbers are purely speculative.

Maybe another 800k would be considered mission essential, I can't imagine 2/3s of the federal government would be essential. So I'd then guess another 1/3 would maybe be part-time or something else? Not sure.

USPS doesn't get entangled in this as they are self funded.


Ti T'war

Apr 6, 11 15:22

Post #4 of 16 (5024 views)
Re: "Essential vs. Non-Essential Gov't Workers" How Many? [big kahuna] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I read someplace (on the internet so it's got to be true) that there are more Gubment employees than workers in Manufacturing, Farming, Technology, Food Service etc combined.

Going by the jobs of people that I know that work for the gov't I'd say that most are non-essential. With the major exception of the Men and Women in our Military. How my buddy who's gov't job it is to give away my tax dollars to what he describes as 70% people who don't need/deserve it has a better salary/health plan/retirement than the guys/gals dodging bullets overseas and at home absolutely astounds me. Rant over.

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big kahuna

Apr 6, 11 15:37

Post #5 of 16 (5012 views)
Re: "Essential vs. Non-Essential Gov't Workers" How Many? [Ti T'war] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Well, it was a good rant, even if it wasn't in pink. Now, on to better things. Like shaving my legs and eating a Moon Pie and drinking a Diet Pepsi.


MJuric

Apr 6, 11 15:47

Post #6 of 16 (5004 views)
Re: "Essential vs. Non-Essential Gov't Workers" How Many? [big kahuna] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Better question, why does the government contain ANY non essential workers? I mean if we can do without them why are they there in the first place?

~Matt


big kahuna

Apr 6, 11 15:56

Post #7 of 16 (4999 views)
Re: "Essential vs. Non-Essential Gov't Workers" How Many? [Tridiot] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Tridiot wrote:
800k estimated to be furloughed, after that the numbers are purely speculative.

Maybe another 800k would be considered mission essential, I can't imagine 2/3s of the federal government would be essential. So I'd then guess another 1/3 would maybe be part-time or something else? Not sure.


Sounds about right.

Quote:
USPS doesn't get entangled in this as they are self funded.


"Self funded." I like that. Too bad it needs billions in government subsidies to survive. But this might surprise you; I'm usually for the USPS, considering its mission is actually called for within the Constitution. I just think it does a horribly overexpensive job of things. I once worked as a Christmas casual at a large mail sort center, shortly after I retired from the military. The spousal unit threatened to divorce me if I didn't get out of her hair and quit rearranging all the socks in the sock drawers, so I was trapped. Anyway, talk about dysfunction among employees. And as a frequent Ebay seller I try, if at all possible to NEVER use USPS if I can help it (I get a nice discount from UPS). They've screwed up my shipments, been late on some, damaged others (and then have taken forever to pay off on a claim) and waiting in line at my eternally slow local post office, to be treated rudely by some of the clerks, is like standing in line waiting to have a tooth extraction from Joe Mengele, in my opinion. The decor at that PO is similar to Soviet-era "industrial design" and I feel even dumber than I normally feel just by having spent an hour in line at that place. And nobody there seems to care about much of anything, least of all customer service.

(This post was edited by big kahuna on Apr 6, 11 15:58)


Alvin Tostig

Apr 6, 11 18:43

Post #8 of 16 (4962 views)
Re: "Essential vs. Non-Essential Gov't Workers" How Many? [MJuric] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

MJuric wrote:
Better question, why does the government contain ANY non essential workers? I mean if we can do without them why are they there in the first place?
I'm sure we've all experienced a "snow day" where we heard a message on the radio to the effect, "All non-essential personal are encouraged to stay home." I ran across this when I was a "government employee" in the USAF. I guess the folks working in the wing command post were considered "essential", but the rest of us apparently weren't. We probably would have been "essential" if WW III had broken out, but until then we stayed home on "snow days" (or went shopping at the mall with the wife and kids).

It would be an interesting exercise to have every government employee list exactly what they do and why it's something that needs to be done. There are a lot of good folks working for the "government", but there's obviously a lot of dead wood.

There are thousands of examples, but I never knew what Linda Tripp (aka friend of Monica Lewinsky) was doing at the Pentagon that justified a paycheck.

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Raptor

Apr 7, 11 1:12

Post #9 of 16 (4913 views)
Re: "Essential vs. Non-Essential Gov't Workers" How Many? [MJuric] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

MJuric wrote:
Better question, why does the government contain ANY non essential workers? I mean if we can do without them why are they there in the first place?

~Matt

Non-essential means the people that are not needed for national security. The government has many workers that do not meet that classification, like the State Department workers working on your passport, the employees of the Library of Congress, and so on.


JollyRogers

Apr 7, 11 3:26

Post #10 of 16 (4892 views)
Re: "Essential vs. Non-Essential Gov't Workers" How Many? [MJuric] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

MJuric wrote:
Better question, why does the government contain ANY non essential workers? I mean if we can do without them why are they there in the first place?

~Matt

I'm DoD and can't speak to the other Departments' definitions of "essential", but in our parlance, "essential" means that that individual supports a function that must be performed without interruption.

Outside of the proximate budgetary issue, "Mission Essential" personnel would have to report for duty even if there was a credible terror threat in the immediate vicinity or impending destructive weather. Examples of these folks include those in the nuclear C2 chain, NORAD, etc.

This potential shutdown twists the definition a bit for DoD because all active duty folks will be required to report for work. At my workplace, there are few if any mission essential functions, but a great many support functions are performed by non-active duty - keeping the lights, heat, A/C, running; maintaining our computer network, so there is a very small number of folks who have been redesignated as "essential" since without them the active duty work efforts would quickly grind to a halt.


mck414

Apr 7, 11 5:46

Post #11 of 16 (4864 views)
Re: "Essential vs. Non-Essential Gov't Workers" How Many? [JollyRogers] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Just a thought, but if the government in its entirety were allowed to grind to a halt wouldn't the pressure be even greater on congress and the wh to get a budget passed? Yes there could be irreparable damage, and the fault would lie with whom? The poor saps who were furloughed or the dipshit pols who can't seem to do their jobs.

I don't actually advocate this step, as an active duty Marine I fully understand essential and mission critical billets. Unfortunately if we go into a shut down I'll still beat work! Unhappy but working.

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MJuric

Apr 7, 11 6:00

Post #12 of 16 (4861 views)
Re: "Essential vs. Non-Essential Gov't Workers" How Many? [Alvin Tostig] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I'm sure we've all experienced a "snow day" where we heard a message on the radio to the effect, "All non-essential personal are encouraged to stay home." I ran across this when I was a "government employee" in the USAF. I guess the folks working in the wing command post were considered "essential", but the rest of us apparently weren't.

I understand that, but in this case there is no "Threat" to the safety of the individual, there's just not enough money.

In the case of a private company that didn't have enough money to pay the employees the "Non essential" employees would become "unemployed" employees because they WERE non essential.

Even in companies like Auto manufacturing you have "plant shut downs" but not because they don't have enough money to pay the people, but because the employees are no longer needed. These employees are laid off although typically temporarily.

"Essential" means those employees that are necessary to keep the function of the entity running. I don't think those people exist in private companies although as you point out in some cases a "Trade off" is made for the safety of the employees...not paying them is not really for the safety and well being of the employees.

It would be an interesting exercise to have every government employee list exactly what they do and why it's something that needs to be done.

Which is part of my point. If these individuals are "Non essential" for a day or two, how long can the government operate without them?

~Matt





GMAN19030

Apr 7, 11 6:14

Post #13 of 16 (4856 views)
Re: "Essential vs. Non-Essential Gov't Workers" How Many? [big kahuna] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I'm essential and it looks like I'll be working for "free" in a couple of days. Hopefully, things get resolved soon.


JollyRogers

Apr 7, 11 7:15

Post #14 of 16 (4835 views)
Re: "Essential vs. Non-Essential Gov't Workers" How Many? [MJuric] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

MJuric wrote:
Which is part of my point. If these individuals are "Non essential" for a day or two, how long can the government operate without them?

~Matt


Not much argument from me in that the federal government performs a number of functions that are beyond its constitutional charter.

On the other hand, you can probably get away with not chaning the oil in your car at precisely the interval in your owner's manual. Care to see how long you can go without changing oil?


Attila

Apr 10, 11 8:33

Post #15 of 16 (4497 views)
Re: "Essential vs. Non-Essential Gov't Workers" How Many? [big kahuna] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Before this all seemingly got put to rest, I was informed that I am essential, and, in the event that a shutdown actually happened, i was expected to be at work on Monday.
I work for the Treasury Dept.


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big kahuna

Apr 10, 11 8:43

Post #16 of 16 (4494 views)
Re: "Essential vs. Non-Essential Gov't Workers" How Many? [Attila] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Heh. The "T Men." Better than "Men in Black." ;-) I think this whole idea of the government "shutting down" is more a rhetorical device being used on the part of the media and both political parties, when in fact the government, at its most essential, doesn't really "shut down." This rhetorical device was used to great effect in the last week, I must say, and visions of abandoned federal buildings all over the country were eagerly ginned up by hordes of media types and politicians. I was in the government during the last shutdown back in late 1995 and the reality, from my point of view, was quite different from the assumptions that surrounded the word "shutdown."

   
 
 
 



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