By KRYSTAL NANCOO-RUSSELL
HYATTSVILLE, Md.—The Treasury Department has delayed the relocation of 450 federal employees from Prince Georges County to West Virginia by five years, the department said Thursday.
In August, the agency announced a plan to relocate the Financial Management Service employees from Hyattsville to Parkersburg, W.Va., as part of the offices consolidation with Treasurys Bureau of the Public Debt.
The National Treasury Employees Union and members of Marylands congressional delegation opposed the move, citing the impact on the employees and their families.
Union president Colleen Kelley said the employees faced a tough decision about whether to move to another state. They also had to consider whether to relocate their families or leave them behind.
This would have created obviously a very personal hardship for them and for their families and resulted in a great loss for their communities, Kelley said at a press conference Thursday at the Financial Management Service office in Hyattsville.
The original deadline for employees to decide if they wanted to relocate, find other jobs or retire was January 2015. The new date is Dec. 31, 2019.
The extension is a huge success for the employees, Kelley said.
Treasury officials said in a statement that the consolidation of the two agencies into the Bureau of the Fiscal Service will save the government $96 million over the next 10 years. If the Federal Management Service employees moved to West Virginia in 2015 instead of 2019, it would have saved the government $96 million over five years, Treasury officials said.
Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., said the Financial Management Service positions are great middle-class jobs that should stay in Maryland.
We understand government has to be more frugal, and we believe in a more frugal government, but its not whether you have a big government or a small government; its if you have a smart government, Mikulski said at the press conference.
The extension of the deadline will allow all parties more time to think through the relocation and what it means for the workforce and the operations of the federal government, Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Fort Washington, said at the press conference.
Edwards said the fight to keep the jobs in Maryland was not a battle between the state and West Virginia, but rather about, where it makes the most sense, with the most talented workforce and the most dedicated workforce, to get the job of the federal government done in the most efficient way.