The news is another blow to efforts to draw more federal jobs to Prince George’s, particularly around the county’s 15 Metro stations, which local officials see as vital opportunities for economic development.
Last year, the General Services Administration dashed the county’s hopes for a big catch when it passed over Prince George’s in favor of Montgomery County for $450 million in leases for the Department of Health and Human Services.
Treasury officials announced in February that they planned to consolidate the Bureau of Public Debt (BPD) and the Financial Management Service (FMS) into a new entity called the Fiscal Service. BPD borrows money needed to operate the government, while FMS operates payment, collection and other services.
When they announced the planned merger in February, Treasury officials expected the move to save $36 million over five years “through management, administrative and support service efficiencies.” In January, the Treasury Department completed a merger of the two organizations’ data centers, at an estimated five-year savings of $129 million.
The majority of BPD operations are in Parkersburg, about 315 miles from Prince George’s, near the Ohio border; real estate there is much less expensive than in Hyattsville. According to the GSA, which manages federal real estate, the move will help Treasury meet a directive from President Obama for agencies to more efficiently use their facilities.
The Treasury Department said it was taking steps to assist the workers affected by the shift.
But officials representing Prince George’s and the state of Maryland — already angry that the county has been overlooked for other federal office deals, particularly the HHS leases last year — were none too pleased at the announcement.
After hearing the news from Treasury officials, Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D-Md.) issued a news release Wednesday expressing disappointment and suggesting that workers receive help finding new jobs.
“I expect that these workers losing their jobs will be compensated and provided opportunities to find new employment, and those remaining in Hyattsville guaranteed job security. I will continue to demand transparency and fair leasing practices on the part of the GSA to level the playing field. Prince George’s County deserves the opportunity to compete fairly in the marketplace,” she said.
Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski and Benjamin L. Cardin as well as Reps. Steny H. Hoyer, Chris Van Hollen and Elijah E. Cummings, all Maryland Democrats, attached statements condemning the move.
Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said the union had been negotiating retirement packages and job training for employees who don’t want to move. She said she expects the first 50 jobs to move in November 2013.
“It’s just a very different living environment, and a different culture kind of thing, from Washington, D.C., to Parkersburg,” she said. “Our goal has been to make available as many options as possible.”
Aubrey Thagard, a top aide to Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D), said the transfer ran contrary to guidelines encouraging the siting of federal jobs near public transit. FMS is now located at 3700 East-West Highway, near the Prince George’s Plaza Metro station.
“We think the federal government should be doing more to reduce the use of our infrastructure and reduce the negative impact on our air quality by locating jobs closer to the workforce,” Thagard said.
Lisa Rein and Miranda S. Spivack contributed to this report.