At the cost of $200 per person per move, federal agencies spend an awful lot of (your) money moving people from point A to point B, and frequently back to point A again. All this is done in the name of economy, efficiency and reorganization.
Crews were busy over the weekend changing HEW signs, to take the "E" out of units that are to be part of the new Office of Education. Longtime Washingtn watchers of the musical chairs game -- played with buildings, organization charts and live people -- anticipate more moves once the OE decides to consolidate, and when what is left of HEW trades H & W spaces with its old E components. It will be H & W moving from point A to replace E, which will go to point B. Or maybe the other way.
A dozen agencies here -- and hundreds of sub units -- are planning moves around town. In addition to the cost (and disruption) of moving bodies, there are walls to be put up, or torn down, or both, new paint jobs, carpets for VIPs, car pools to be disbanded and reformed. All in the name of efficiency and economy.
Moving champs in recent years have been the Departments of Energy (DOE) and Defense (DOD), DOE had the glamor and clout to get most of the space it wanted, where it wanted. What it wanted, and got, was space occupied by DOD.
The DOE-to-DOD moves cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in moving expenses, ripped up telephone lines, new telephones numbers, new directories and lost time. Meanwhile, the energy crisis is unsolved, despite DOE's consolidations.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission wants to gather its troops -- scattered in a dozen buildings -- together. Apparently it is impossible for people to conduct business by telephone. Meetings must be face-to-face or the government flounders. NRC talks about Silver Spring and Bethesda as its final homeland, or maybe Fort Lincoln. Rep. Mike Barnes (D-Md.) wants to see the consolidations result in the minimum amount of chaos, and he wants the NRC promised land to be in Montgomery County.
General Services Administration, the government's space-planner, recently shifted three of its own operations to make room for the Federal Labor Relations Authority. But the White House pulled rank on the FLRA, claiming it needs the new space for its expanding Council on Wage Price Stability to continue its outstanding work stabilizing wages and prices.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (in simpler times, the Weather Bureau) wants to move several hundred of its Rockville people to Georgetown, and several hundred of its Georgetown people to Rockville. The irony is that many of the Rockville units once were located in Georgetown. Before that, downtown. Still, it is only money.
The people who move government offices, and sell government telephone directories love it. Firms that sell plants (and maintenance of same) love it. As somebody once said, this will be a nice goverment if they ever get it finished.