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Furloughs? Not Really Necessary.

10:36 AM, May 21, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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From Eric Katz, at Government Executive, we learn:

As recently as February, just weeks before sequestration was set to go into effect, nearly every Cabinet-level department had issued warnings of the need to furlough employees in fiscal 2013 due to the across-the-board cuts.  

With the fiscal year more than halfway over, however, the number of agencies and department that will in fact require furloughs has dropped dramatically. While some departments, such as Labor and Treasury, have already begun or are moving forward with plans to furlough, the Agriculture, Education, Homeland Security, Justice and Transportation departments have reversed course.

Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education, warned his people to expect furloughs of "multiple days."  Now, it seems that he has found other ways to economize, including:

... a reduction in hiring. Forty-three percent of the vacancies at Education have gone unfilled in the last two years, according to the department. 

Duncan's department has also “reduced its contracts by eliminating or postponing certain tasks.”

And:

It has and continues to reduce travel and large conference spending, slashing 15 percent and 10 percent of their budgets, respectively.

In other words, the sorts of things businesses routinely do in tough times.  

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