Thousands of Civil Servants Are Looking to Leave, Survey Says

By Stephen Barr
Monday, July 11, 2005; B02

A recently released survey of federal employees found that 68 percent are satisfied with their jobs and that 71 percent plan to stick with their jobs for another year.

But the survey results, based on responses the Office of Personnel Management collected from 150,000 employees in late 2004, also showed that thousands of employees are looking for those proverbial greener pastures. They plan to look for another job elsewhere in the government or start making retirement plans, the survey showed.

The workforce movements will probably increase staffing pressures on agencies scheduled for flat or declining budgets over the next two years. Agency leaders may impose hiring freezes or move cautiously in filling vacant jobs. Some may step up their efforts to encourage early retirements by packing the offers with cash buyouts.

According to the OPM survey, about 16 percent of federal employees plan on leaving their agency for another job in the government. At some agencies, a higher percentage appears to be thinking about moving on.

At OPM, 21.8 percent said they plan to seek employment elsewhere in the government; at the Department of Homeland Security, 20.1 percent; at the Defense Department, 19.6 percent; at the Office of Management and Budget, 18.1 percent; and at the Education Department, 17.8 percent.

In the survey, about 12 percent of respondents said they plan to retire in one to three years. Based on the responses, look for a pickup in retirement parties at these agencies:

At the Agency for International Development, 18.4 percent of survey respondents said they are getting ready for retirement; at the Social Security Administration, 17.8 percent; at the State Department, 16.7 percent; at the Energy Department, 14.5 percent; and at the Defense Department, 13.4 percent.

Most of the employees responding to the OPM survey were in the middle to high grades of the General Schedule. Forty-four percent of the respondents said they were in GS grades 13 through 15, and 41 percent said they were in grades 7 through 12.

The majority of survey respondents had worked in the government for more than 10 years: 31 percent had from 11 years to 20 years of service, and 43 percent had more than 20 years, OPM said.


Thomas F. Fisher , deputy director of personnel management for the U.S. Coast Guard, has retired after more than 35 years of service. He was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in 1987.

Frank J. Frodyma retired June 1 after 37 years with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. He served for most of those years as deputy director, Directorate of Evaluation and Analysis.

James A. Johnson , director of the Defense Logistics Management Standards Office at Fort Belvoir, will retire July 29 after more than 37 years of government service.

James R. Johnson , director of technical assistance programs for the Interior Department's office of insular affairs, retired June 2 after 37 years of federal service.

Edward J. Kennedy III , a division head at the Naval Research Laboratory, retired June 3 after 36 1/2 years of federal service. He was a leader of the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program near Gakona, Alaska.

Marlow Vesterby , a land use research specialist for the Economic Research Service at the Agriculture Department, retired June 11 after 42 years of federal service.

Charles E. Walker , a government affairs officer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has retired after 30 years of federal service. He served with the Army in Vietnam and worked as a historian for the Corps of Engineers and as a senior research analyst at the Library of Congress.

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