The RIF clock is officially ticking for most of the staff at the inspector general’s office for the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Reduction-in-force packages went out Friday to 26 of the office’s 33 employees, said spokesman Bill Hillburg, who was among those receiving notification that he could be out of a job by March 17. “It can change for some if some folks find work elsewhere, but unless funding is found and restored, [it’s] irrevocable,” Hillburg said in an email.
The move comes after Congress whacked the IG’s funding by almost half to $4 million in a fiscal 2012 spending bill approved last month. The rationale for the cut remains mysterious. Democrats have blamed Republicans; a spokesman for Rep. Denny Rehberg, the Montana Republican whose House appropriations subcommittee helps draft the budget for the IG’s office, has not replied to several requests for comment.
Last week, three GOP senators wrote to Rehberg’s Senate counterpart, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, asking him to restore the lost funding by taking the money from the corporation’s budget; Harkin has made no decision, a spokeswoman indicated Friday.
In his own letter to Congress last week, Kenneth Bach, acting chief of the IG’s office, said he was confident that some employees would get work with other inspectors general. But for those who are actually RIF’d, Bach said, he will have to pay a severance package that in a few cases could come close to the employee’s annual salary.