A reorganization at the Office of Management and Budget could spell even harder times ahead for federal workers and U.S. retirees who face pay freezes, delays in cost-of-living increases and cutbacks in their retirement system.
The reorganization is falling heavily on the managerial side of the White House agency, rather than on its budget side, in line with OMB Director David Stockman's primary interest in cutting the cost of government.
Of special interest to U.S. workers is the elimination of two management-oriented units, GOD (Government Organization Division) and FPPD (Federal Personnel Policy Division). GOD has been concerned with government structures; the FPPD has handled personnel-related matters such as pay and pensions.
FPPD's responsibilities will be transferred to the budget side of the OMB. That could be bad news for federal workers, since the main thrust of the budget group is to find ways of cutting federal expenditures.
OMB spokesman Ed Dale said the FPPD tended to take a "global" view of federal personnel matters. It often considered the impact of changes on federal workers themselves, whereas the budget side of OMB is more concerned with dollars-and-cents savings.
OMB, which has been hit with budget cuts and lower personnel ceilings, says the reorganization will involve abolishing some of its 600-plus jobs, but it believes the slimming can be accomplished without rifs.
It says it will be some time before the agency knows exactly how many jobs are to be abolished. But because it deals with every federal agency, and because its relatively small staff is considered the cream of government, OMB does not expect it will have problems finding other federal jobs for staffers whose jobs or functions are eliminated.