On May 24, IRS employees are going to be forced to take unpaid days off in a staggered schedule. The furlough, which is a result of the sequester, is calling for one day off every other week for five to seven days.
This is hitting right into the pocketbooks of civil servants who are not going to be able to use sick or vacation days so as to prevent themselves from losing income in the course of this. The result is (depending on one’s pay scale) a total cost of up to $1,140-$2,800 is going to be lost in wages.
While many can agree that cutting costs in the government is a great endeavor, this is one area where cutting costs can be viewed as highly debatable. Several different studies have found that when $1 is cut from the auditing and examination departments of the IRS, it comes at a cost of $7 of gained revenue.
To make matters worse, the cuts have led to hiring freezes across the board. In March, the Treasury Department’s Holtsville campus released a job posting to hire 6 Appeals Officers. The recruiting process went all the way to the final stage – sending the top candidates’ files to the desk of the Selecting Official – only for the candidates to be informed on May 14th that the two months they had spent applying were a waste because the job posting was now being removed.
This kind of incident ends up becoming a phantom cost because it will not be accounted for between the wasted man hours, the talent that will end up elsewhere as a result, and the cases that will be further delayed as a result of these professionals not being available to aid in the very arduous appeals process.