Wave of Retirements Hitting Federal Workforce

Tuesday, 27 Aug 2013 03:29 PM

By Lisa Barron

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A new wave of retirements by experienced senior government workers is hitting the federal workforce.

With retirement savings accounts on the rebound and agency budgets being slashed, many veteran employees, including baby boomers who held on to their jobs during the recession, are leaving work, reports The Washington Post.

Indeed, government figures show that the number of retirement applications has been rising steadily and is expected to increase at an accelerated rate.

While that could help reduce the federal payroll, it could also mean the loss of people with experience that can't be easily replaced, such as nuclear physicists at the Energy Department and air traffic controllers, notes the Post.

In interviews with recently retired senior executives from across the government, the newspaper found that the main reasons for their decision to leave were the pay freeze, the public's negative opinion about federal workers, and government spending cuts, which have meant furloughs, less overtime, and a larger workload.

"Everybody was under the constraints of sequestration and a lack of money," Craig Charles, who left the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency at 39 after a 25-year career, told the Post, adding, "It was constant scrambling for the budget.

And Richard Swensen, 60, who retired from the Agriculture Department last year, added, "It finally got to the point where I got disillusioned. You get weary of the bureaucrat-bashing."

With no government plan in place to deal with the fresh retirements, individual agencies are said to be making their own plans to cope with the brain drain.

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