Friday, January 27, 2017

Federal hiring freeze hits Western land agencies

by Anna V. Smith

President Donald Trump announced a freeze on all federal hiring on Monday, eliminating any vacant positions and prohibiting the creation of new positions as of noon on Jan. 22. The presidential memorandum will affect all federal agencies except the military, and includes land management employees. It follows on the heels of another announcement that U.S. Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency grants and contracts will be frozenThe memorandum did not make allowances for seasonal hires, a necessity for agencies like the National Park Service and Forest Service, which hire thousands of short-term rangers and other employees nationwide during the summer months. In an interview with the Missoulian, Melissa Baumann, council president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, said she did not know how this would impact the hiring of wildland firefighters. According to Baumann, the Forest Service hired 11,000 seasonal workers in 2015, many of them to fight the Western wildfires that break out between June and September. According to National Parks Traveler, the National Park Service is going ahead with identifying potential new seasonal hires in hopes that a waiver will be granted for some workers. A representative for the Forest Service said, “The U.S. Forest Service is waiting for further clarification and direction from the Office of Personnel Management related to the hiring freeze. We cannot speculate on the impact of the hiring freeze.” The freeze comes at a time when the National Park Service, the Forest Service, National Wildlife Refuge System and Bureau of Land Management are seeing an increase in public use of the millions of acres they manage, and are struggling to keep up...more

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

All Federal agencies have had the same complaint from the beginning of time: we need more money to serve the public. Then they forget who the public is. Cut them to the bone!