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House CAO Offers Buyouts to Staff

The House chief administrative officer has announced that his operation is the latest legislative branch agency to offer buyouts to employees.

CAO Dan Strodel joins the heads of other congressional support offices — among them the Library of Congress and the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms — that have implemented “voluntary separation incentive programs” to help ease the burden of budget cuts and, more recently, the sequester.

In a Monday memo to staff, Strodel took an upbeat tone in delivering news that is typically treated with a certain degree of sensitivity and reluctance.

“Thanks to careful planning and execution, the CAO has been able to absorb recent budget reductions without minimizing services we provide to the House and without having to furlough employees,” Strodel wrote in the memo obtained by CQ Roll Call. “Thank you for supporting these ongoing efforts.

“As we continue to plan for future fiscal years when budgets may continue to be subject to sequestration or other reductions, we are pleased to announce a Voluntary Separation Incentive (VSIP) program,” the letter continued. “This is an important personal decision only you can make. Please … make sure it’s an informed one.”

In many cases, the number of buyouts taken determines whether an agency will have to resort to layoffs or furloughs. CAO spokesman Dan Weiser suggested there were no contingency plans currently in place and, in fact, he said not everybody who asks for a buyout may receive a buyout.

“Hopefully we can accommodate all who apply, but we need to ensure we can maintain current operations,” Weiser said in a statement.

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