U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-MD) today called upon Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner to halt the Treasury Department's plan to move 450 jobs out of Prince George's County. The 450 positions are part of the Federal Management Services (FMS) facility in Hyattsville, Maryland. In their letter, the Senators stressed the importance of these jobs to Prince George's County and noted that the Treasury Department lacks the necessary authority and Congressional approval to move these jobs. A copy of the letter is available here.
"Moving 450 jobs out of Hyattsville would be a terrible loss for Prince George's County and the workers at FMS. These are good middle-class jobs for hundreds of trained accountants who have spent their careers in Maryland," the Senators wrote. "We urge you to follow the law and the process. Stop this move. We know we need a more frugal government. We want to work with you in a way that doesn't harm these employees. We are on the side of cost savings but not at the expense of these workers."
Under the Treasury Department's plan, the positions would be moved to Parkersburg, West Virginia beginning in November 2013 as part of FMS' consolidation with the Bureau of Public Debt (BPD). Following the Treasury Department's announcement in August, Senators Mikulski and Cardin have worked to keep these jobs in Maryland. They were joined by Representatives Donna F. Edwards, Steny Hoyer, Chris Van Hollen and Elijah E. Cummings (all D-Md.) in immediately criticizing the proposed move.
The full text of the letter to Secretary Geithner follows:
October 24, 2012
Timothy F. Geithner
Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20220
Dear Secretary Geithner:
We are writing out of concern for the 450 men and women at the Hyattsville Financial Management Service (FMS) facility who have dedicated their careers to good government and public service and are now seeing their jobs moved out of the state.
Moving 450 jobs out of Hyattsville would be a terrible loss for Prince George's County and the workers at FMS. These are good middle-class jobs for hundreds of trained accountants who have spent their careers in Maryland. It is expected that only 10% - 15% of all workers will actually be able to pick up and move their families to the communities where their job are moving. This move is a direct hit to the middle class in Prince George's County, a middle class that FMS helped build.
And this move would be a terrible loss for the taxpayers who would lose the benefit of the training, expertise and institutional knowledge of the duty driven civil servants of Prince George's County. A great democracy requires great civil servants. The employees who handle government-wide accounting work with honesty, integrity, and competence. They have devoted their careers and lives to public service and they deserve to be treated with respect.
Treasury does not have the authority to go forward with this consolidation. The Congressional Research Service has advised us that the failure to specify that the lease for the Parkersburg, West Virginia facility would provide space for FMS would likely "not be construed as approval of co-locating BPD and FMS." Also, the House of Representatives has not approved your prospectus for changes to the lease for the Hyattsville FMS facility. Treasury does not have the necessary Congressional approval. We urge you to follow the law and the process. Stop this move.
We know we need a more frugal government. We want to work with you in a way that doesn't harm these employees. We are on the side of cost savings but not at the expense of these workers.
We look forward to continuing to work with you to find a solution.
United States Senator
Barbara A. Mikulski
United States Senator