Pentagon's Carter pledges to give up 20 percent of his pay


If sequestration goes into effect next month, many Defense Department employees are likely to be furloughed one day per week for the rest of the fiscal year — in effect, a 20 percent pay cut.

Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter and other political appointees can’t be furloughed. But according to the Washington Times, Carter told lawmakers today that he is going to give back one-fifth of his salary if Defense civilian employees are furloughed. The Times called it “a show of solidarity.”

Federal employees are, of course, not happy about the prospect of mass furloughs, and many observers fear it could deal a devastating blow to morale. While Carter returning some of his pay won’t do anything to lessen the pressure on furloughed feds’ checkbooks, it may keep some of their anger from turning against their bosses.


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  1. A typical political show of grandstanding. He cannot legally “give back” part of his salary. It is what it is. Only if he were allowed to and took LWOP for the same 1 day per month as other employees are furloughed would he be able to have the same loss of pay. And for his level, he probably gets paid regardless and never has to take LWOP.

  2. Why don’t all of the poloticians take a 30% reduction in pay for the duration of fiscal year 2013 and leave the workers alone. You folks make all the rules and are exempt from them. Haven’t we given enough? I do not understand how you think a 20% reduction of our income would not cause economic disaster in heavily populated federal employee areas of not just the United States, but worldwide. I know in my single income (single dweller) home it will! You folks have frozen our pay, yet the cost of surviving (not living) has increased in leaps and bounds. When are you going to help us instead of kicking an already down dog?

  3. This seems like nothing but a silly display of political grandstanding. What process exists to legally permit the return of pay in whole or part?

    Rather than making political hay, he ought to be looking for ways to cuts costs. Eliminating the nonsensical bio-fuels would be a good start.

    Ordering the permanent elimiantion of militarily useless functions like musical bands, the Blue Angels, the Thunderbirds, the Golden Knights, etc would be another area of savings.
    Ordering the cancellation of the Army conference scheduled to be held in Ft Lauterdale 20-22 Feb would be another way to show commitment to saving dollars. Those GOs who are unable to hobnob with industry will have to find some other means to beg their way into a high paying do-nothing industry job after retirement.

    Summarily terminating any acquisition program that is late, over budget and not meeting contractual specifications is yet another area for savings.

    Let’s see if he has the guts to enact real savings and dispense with the political posturing.

  4. an Army procurement guy on

    Army contracting in 1stQ FY13 spent (obligated) $2.4B more than they obligated in 1stQ FY12, even with another CRA and with sequestration looming. Why? Program managers, concerned about sequestration, rushed to obligate their dollars on contracts to protect their programs, so that their projects would move ahead regardless of what happened elsewhere. I guess that’s what program managers are supposed to do. But program managers have bosses, who evidently did not tell their program managers to reduce spending.

    Had they deferred obligations, the Army might have more discretion in how to manage sequestration. We made a lot of short-sighted decisions at the program level, but I’m not convinced that we planned well at the enterprise level. Mr Carter and Army acquisition leaders, as directed by OMB, specifically made no plans to prepare for sequestration. It was spend, spend, spend faster and more than you spent last year.

    This is only an Army example, but I’d wager that it happened all across DoD. I heard that AF announced that regardless of sequestration, the tanker program with Boeing would be spared, so Boeing contractor employees laugh to the bank while DoD civil servants get a 20% pay cut for the last hald of the year.

    This looks like poor planning to me. Cut programs and activities if you want to cut expenses; cutting expenses (civ pay) without cutting programs and activities seems short-sighted, not what I would have expected from senior leadership. I hope that their decisions are wise, and perhaps they see things at their level that I cannot see at mine. Sorry, I have to seek anonymity because my comments might seem as attacking my leaders. I don’t intend to attack, and I hope that what is happening isn’t the result of poor planning on their part. I’m going to trust that they see farther than I, and are making the very best decisions.

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