Wexton Statement on USDA Asking Employees Who Declined Relocation to Stay in Washington
Washington, DC, September 12, 2019
In response to reports that USDA is asking employees who previously declined relocation to work longer in Washington, Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton issued the following statement:
“The relocation of ERS and NIFA was always meant to shut down independent and objective research--because facts are inconvenient for this administration. Clearly, there are critical services that ERS and NIFA must provide, and the deliberate decimation of USDA’s workforce makes it impossible for them to do so. The move will severely disrupt ongoing scientific research and eradicate decades of valuable experience and institutional knowledge. Ultimately, this will hurt the farmers USDA is tasked with supporting and come at a terrible cost for hundreds of federal workers and their families. I will continue to oppose this cruel and ill-advised move.”
More than two-thirds of ERS and NIFA employees who were given the choice to relocate or lose their jobs have declined relocation, and only 15 ERS and NIFA employees are currently working in the Kansas City region. USDA is also currently considering hiring retired ERS and NIFA employees as part-time reemployed annuitants to help fill a growing workforce gap created by the agency’s own breakneck relocation timeline.
Congresswoman Wexton has been vocal in her opposition to the move since its announcement, joining the entire National Capital Region Congressional Delegation in urging Secretary Perdue to reverse his decision to move the agency. Wexton then pressed the agency for further transparency into its failure to respond to extension requests from employees facing relocation, and has continued to speak out against the agency’s haphazard relocation.