GPO Cuts Workforce to Lowest Levels in 100 Years

The GPO publishes the president's budget each year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
The GPO publishes the president's budget each year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Posted February 4, 2015 at 12:13pm

The U.S. Government Publishing Office announced Wednesday it has achieved its goal of reducing its workforce, amounting to the lowest number of GPO employees in 100 years. But the GPO also said the reduction will not hamper the office’s functions.  

“GPO continues to better position itself to respond to the 21st century digital information needs of Congress, federal agencies, and the public,” GPO Director Davita Vance-Cooks said in a statement. “Reducing costs and improving efficiency … are ongoing GPO objectives.” According to an agency release, GPO sought to reduce its workforce by 5 percent during the first quarter of fiscal 2015. The GPO offered buyouts to employees and 130 took the buyout. The office estimated the buyouts will save around $7.1 million. Currently, 1,669 employees work at the GPO, which the release noted was the lowest number in the past 100 years.  

The legislative-branch agency announced its plan to offer buyouts in July. At the time, the agency said it would offer payments of up to $25,000 to increase the likelihood workers would depart. An employee had to apply to participate in the buyout, and his or her position needed to be determined as one the GPO would not have to refill.  

The GPO has cut its workforce by nearly 75 percent over the past 30 years, due to new technologies. The release noted, “These reductions in personnel in no way compromise GPO’s ability to carry out mission critical operations, including publishing support for Congress and federal agencies and providing public access to government information.”  

Congress recently changed the GPO’s name from the Government Printing Office to the Government Publishing Office to acknowledge the office’s functions have evolved beyond print and embraced digital operations. The office is responsible for producing, cataloging, indexing, authenticating and preserving official documents for all three branches of the U.S. government. This week, the GPO went into high gear to publish President Barack Obama’s 2,000-page fiscal 2016 budget. In addition to printing the budget, the GPO published the budget online and once again developed a budget app to make the digital version more accessible.