Federal employees working for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have struck a deal with the agency to keep their high salaries even as they remote work and move to cheaper cities and states.
GAO, which is headquartered in Washington, D.C., has major offices in Seattle, Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago. The agency is the main government watchdog that scrutinizes administration spending.
However, in the years since the pandemic, employees are keeping their high salaries despite moving to lower cost of living cities including Detroit, Michigan, Huntsville, Alabama, and Des Moines, Iowa.
DailyMail.com has exclusively learned that GAO’s Executive Committee has come to a tentative agreement with dues paying members of its employee union that includes a one-time ‘grace period’ allowing government employees to keep their current salary if they move, or have already moved to more affordable parts of the U.S., within 18 pay periods.
The agreement is expected to be officially approved tomorrow by midnight and ratified later this week.
GAO boss Gene Dodaro told Congress in April that amid ongoing negotiations with the union, his goal was to ensure pay was ‘equitable’ but not ‘out of line’
It comes as most GAO employees have already moved out of D.C. or were hired during the pandemic and have always worked remotely.
They have been keeping their higher salaries while living in cheaper cities for over three years now.
According to the ‘Future of Work’ tentative agreement obtained by DailyMail.com, employees will enjoy ‘flexible work arrangements,’ including intermittent local telework and remote work.
‘Currently, employees may generally transfer offices without any change in their pay. To facilitate the introduction of remote work, this policy will change,’ reads the memo.
‘There will be a specified grace period for employees who transfer to a different GAO office or who become remote workers in localities different from their current ODS (Official Duty Station) During this grace period, employees can:
- Retain their current salary, subject to the maximum salary for their position/band at the new location; or
- Be paid a salary calculated using a system which matches the employee’s salary percentile in their current location relative to their new location.’
As part of the tentative agreement, there is a salary calculator that estimates how much an employee’s salary will be impacted after the ‘grace period.’
According to the calculator, a ‘Band III’ employee – equivalent to an assistant director – is on average making $150,000 per year based out of D.C.
According to the ‘Phase 1’ grace period if the employee choses to move to a city such as Kansas City or Buffalo, they would be able to keep their $150,000 D.C. salary.
During ‘Phase 2’ their salary would shift – but not greatly – and is based on a series of ‘locality definitions.’
That’s because the localities in Phase 2 are linked to GAO field offices and not OPM Executive Branch locality pay scales, which are less, a current GAO employee points out.
It remains unclear about how other benefits including retirement matches and income tax will be addressed.
On page 14 of the tentative agreement, government employees would have ‘extended business hours’ in order to meet their basic requirements from 5am to 6am and 8pm to 12am Monday through Friday.
GAO boss Gene Dodaro told Congress in April that amid ongoing negotiations with the union, his goal was to ensure pay was ‘equitable’ but not ‘out of line.’
The employee tells DailyMail.com that the tentative union agreement is ‘mind-boggling.’
‘Coming from the government accountability office, this agreement doesn’t seem like the most accountable and best use of taxpayer funds,’ the employee continued.
GAO spokesperson Chuck Young told DailyMail.com in a statement Monday: ‘The potential agreement was negotiated between labor and management as required under federal collective bargaining agreements, and it remains under review and consideration.’
Congress has been stepping up oversight of government agencies and their telework policies, now that it has been months since President Biden formally ended the COVID emergency.
Republicans say billions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted based on unused federal office space and employees taking advantage of the White House’s liberal work from home policies.
Damning reports reveal government employees have been in meetings while taking bubble baths, still got paid while on the golf course and attended happy hours while on the clock.
More than 75 percent of the available office space at 17 different federal agencies is still empty, according to the GAO.
Federal employees have capitalized on Biden’s telework policies to work from bathtubs, shoot pool and sign off early for happy hour at the same time the backlog of passports continues and veterans have to wait months for appointments with their doctors.
GAO is no stranger to political controversies.
A Department of Veterans Affairs employee based in Atlanta posted a series of Instagram stories from March from the bathtub with the caption: ‘My office for the next hour’
Since the Biden administration allowed federal agencies to green light remote work for staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, federal workers have taken advantage of the situation
In May, DailyMail.com obtained leaked internal memos that showed GAO forbids employees from using male and female terms.
The agency issued the bizarre diktat in October 2022 at the behest of its so-called ‘chief diversity management officer.’
The ‘style guide’ demands an end to ‘non-inclusive terminology’ and said the GAO’s 3,100-strong army of bureaucrats should avoid ‘wording that diminishes anyone’s dignity.’
The four-page rant, which was posted on the GAO intranet, bans staff from using words such as ‘man-made’ or ‘manpower’ in official communications.
- Bless This TV Series’ Beautiful, Bonkers Twists
- Fraudulent Forms Frenzy: Michigan Officials Seek FBI Help in 2020 Voter Registration Investigation | Wayne Dupree
- Keith Thompson Bio, Wiki, Age, Wife, WWMT-TV, and Net Worth
- Body Language Expert Notices Meghan Markle Become ‘Nervous’ When She Wasn’t Getting Prince Harry’s Full Attention and Had to ‘Take a Backseat’
- The Project stars poke fun at their own network after sharing footage of a woman snubbing a Channel 10 reporter ‘because they’re not from Channel Seven’