A new internal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) website designed to answer employees’ questions about the agency’s upcoming relocation out West says staffers should expect a drop in their overall pay.
The information was included in an internal page available to staff seen by The Hill that contained questions and answers about the controversial plan to move most D.C.-based BLM employees and establish a new headquarters in Grand Junction, Colo…
Locality pay in Washington boosts base salaries by nearly 30 percent. Locality pay in many other parts of the country increases pay by about 15 percent. [Pols emphasis]
A question about whether employees can keep the locality pay that contributes to their current salary, the answer is a simple, “No, this is not an option.”
For something that vulnerable incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner has staked high-profile claim to as a big success justifying his re-election against the prevailing political trends in Colorado, the relocation of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to Grand Junction has in practice rewarded Gardner with one negative headline after another.
First, the small number of positions relocating to Grand Junction shrank the perceived economic benefit. Then public lands experts condemned the move as a brazen right-wing engineered plan for weakening the BLM’s power. Then employees rebelled to the extent they were able. Then came lawsuits and the selection of office space in Grand Junction literally in the same building as oil and gas producers.
Now, affected BLM employees can look forward to a pay cut for their trouble too. While it’s certainly true that the cost of living in the Washington, D.C. area is higher than Grand Junction, a pay cut is a pay cut–and for employees who we assume are not living hand to mouth today, the loss of income could easily exceed the benefit of Grand Junction’s lower cost of living. There’s nothing here to improve employee morale here either way, which at this point most people understand is a feature not a bug in the plan.
Congratulations all around, especially Colorado’s junior U.S. Senator.