The Subcommittee on Government Operations and the Federal Workforce held a hearing on how productive teleworking employees were. It went as you might expect.
May 11th marked the official end of the country’s response to the covid pandemic. However, not one federal agency reports that most of its staff has returned to the office after enjoying the perks of 3 years of working from home.
The UK Daily Mail had an exclusive interview with Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA). It may surprise nobody at Legal Insurrection that the Department of Housing and Urban Development was at the bottom of the list of employees who have returned to the office.
According to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) memo to Sen. Joni Ernst, obtained by DailyMail.com, not a single federal agency has over half of its workforce in the office.
That’s a staggering statistic since federal agencies spend about $2 billion taxpayer dollars per year to operate and maintain federal office buildings – and over $5 billion annually in leases.
…The data shows an ‘estimated three-month average space utilization’ statistics that were collected for 24 agencies during one-week periods in January, February and March 2023.
The agency with the greatest percentage of in-office staff for the three months was the State Department at 49 percent. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) took home the prize for the least space utilization (7 percent).
Ernst and other congressional Republicans are gearing up to campaign on “Bidenomics” in 2024.
‘Under Bidenflation, buying and renting is a whole lot more expensive, and instead of getting the homeless off the streets, no one is even home at HUD,’ she continued.
The senator from Iowa is calling for the ‘end’ of the Biden administration allowing federal buildings to remain vacant at the taxpayers’ expense.
She has previously called for the administration to sell off unused space and return the money to taxpayers.
Congress has been stepping up oversight of government agencies and their telework policies, now that it has been months since President Biden formally ended the COVID-19 emergency.
Ernst and other lawmakers say billions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted based on unused federal office space.
More than 75 percent of the available office space at 17 different federal agencies is still empty, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The Biden administration has been pressing federal workers to return to the office as of April 2023. But, like the rest of the world, American bureaucrats are inclined to ignore the present occupant of the Oval Office.
The White House on Thursday asked federal agencies to revise workforce plans as it aims to “substantially increase” in-person work by government employees at headquarters offices and improve services, according to a memo seen by Reuters.
The memo to executive branch agencies from White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) director Shalanda Young directs agencies to refresh work environment plans and policies.
“Consistent with trends over the last two years, plans should reflect the expectation that agency headquarters and equivalents generally continue to substantially increase meaningful in-person work in Federal offices,” the memo first reported by Reuters said.
At a recent congressional hearing, Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AK) asked about how agencies are measuring and addressing the productivity and output of employees teleworking. It went as you might expect.
Rep. Palmer: “One of the main causes for improper payment is that many of your agencies have antiquated data systems. We’re now probably in the range of 300 billion dollars a year – 250 to 300 billion a dollars a year in improper payments.”
“I would like to know have you tracked your agencies’ amount of improper payments particularly in the context of the number of people who aren’t working in the office or are working remotely.”
Mr. Leavitt (HHS): “We do have systems in place to ensure that we are tracking the locality rate of the employees…”
Rep. Palmer: “Have you done anything to measure productivity?”
Mr. Pelter (Commerce): “I wouldn’t use the phrase, sir, internal audit, however I do generally look at three tiers. First, the strategic plan that our secretaries put in place and whether or not we’re meeting those objectives.
Rep. Palmer: “Mr. Chairman, I think we need to get an answer from each of our witnesses as to whether or not productivity has improved, declined, stayed the same.”
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