GPO Director Danford L. Sawyer Jr. says that furloughs for 6,000 GPO workers will begin on schedule June 1, despite a resolution approved by the Joint Committee on Printing that says there will be no furloughs pending a study of financial conditions at the world's biggest print shop.

The committee, headed by Sen. Charles McC. Mathias (R-Md.), directed Sawyer not to begin the furloughs. GPO is part of the legislative branch of government and, although the director is a presidential appointee, he normally says "bless you" when anybody on the committee sneezes.

Sawyer, a prominent Florida businessman, says the committee action violates federal laws and rules, including the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, which gave agency heads authority to RIF or furlough when they are short of money to pay salaries. Last month, GPO announced that it was furloughing its entire staff (except for some security personnel) for six days over the next seven months.

Sawyer says his laywers and the general counsel of the OPM cleared the furloughs, and he is asking them for an opinion on the committee resolution to postpone them. The committee says it is considering various options, if GPO management defies its ruling. Stay tuned.