The relocation of National Institute of Food and Agriculture employees and Economic Research Service employees to Kansas City continues, but some employees may be able to remain in Washington, D.C. for a few more months, Government Executive reported. The Department is delaying the move date, or separation date, for those who decline to relocate until Dec. 9, 2019, in some cases and March 30, 2020, in others. So far, only NIFA employees have received the letters.
The department is changing the report date to Dec. 9 for three teams at the Economic Research Service, the Federal News Network reports. Previously, employees were expected to report to Kansas City by Sept. 30 or leave their current positions by the end of the month. The change is creating confusion for ERS and NIFA employees.
The move is forcing employees at all stages of life into wrenching decisions, the Washington Post reports in an article examining the decision three employees made. None are staying with USDA.
Senators Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen are asking the USDA to explain a decision to reduce payments to Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture employees who declined to relocate to Kansas City, CBS19News reported. They said USDA employees were led to believe they would be offered buyout deals at or near the federal maximum, but now they will be offered much less than $25,000 and the employees were not notified of the change earlier.
The American Academy of Animal Science says USDA may have broken the law by not gaining congressional approval before the relocation.
The Kansas City Business Journal reports USDA is hiring at least 50 people and up to 90 people. In total, USDA plans to move 568 jobs to Kansas City.