For months, hundreds of federal employees working in Prince George's County were on a roller coaster about the future of their jobs and the possibility that they may be forced to move out of state.
However, several Democratic legislators stepped in and have derailed the relocation plans for several years. On Jan. 3, U.S. Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski, Ben Cardin along with Reps. Donna F. Edwards, Steny Hoyer, Chris Van Hollen, Elijah E. Cummings, and John Sarbanes announced that the U.S. Treasury Department and General Service Administration (GSA) will delay their plan to move 450 jobs out of Prince George's County until 2019.
The 450 positions are part of the Federal Management Services (FMS) facility in Hyattsville, Md. The Treasury Department had announced intentions to move the positions to Parkersburg, W.Va., next
November as part of FMS' consolidation with the Bureau of Public Debt (BPD).
The initial plan by Treasury and GSA gave employees until January 2015 to either relocate or separate. Since the announcement in August, the members of the Maryland congressional delegation have criticized the plan to move jobs out of Prince George's County and negotiated with the Treasury Department for a delay.
For the past year, the employees have dealt with rumors and briefings about the possible relocation. Some workers participated in group site visits to BPD's Parkersburg offices in the fall.
"Today's announcement is good news for jobs in Prince George's County, for Maryland and for the duty driven civil servants at the Hyattsville FMS facility dedicated to good government and public service,"said Mikulski. "We must have a more frugal government, but not one that hangs our people out to dry. Together with Team Maryland, I fought to keep these jobs in Prince George's County."
Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker III praised the legislators for their efforts and said he hoped that a final decision would be made not just to delay the relocation but to reverse it and keep the jobs in the county.
"I applaud the GSA and the Treasury Department for recognizing the value that these jobs bring to Prince George's County, the state of Maryland and the region," said Baker. "They clearly weighed important factors like our proximity to other government entities, access to mass transit and the impact this move would have on the current workforce."
Cardin said he and his colleagues "fought hard" to keep the jobs in Maryland and the county.
"Prince George's County is ideally situated to serve the federal government and I will continue to work with the county and its business leaders to bring more federal facilities to the county," said Cardin.
Edwards also gave a thumbs-up to FMS' decision to "keep good-paying jobs in Hyattsville."
Cummings called the decision "great news," adding that the FMS workforce is "an integral part of our state's economy."
However in an email to its members, union officials told federal workers that "the fight is not over" and that issues surrounding reclassifying jobs and the impact of the move still must be resolved.
"I applaud the efforts of the Maryland congressional delegation in encouraging FMS to review and amend its plans concerning relocation" said the National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen M. Kelley. "I believe this adjustment in the FMS-Bureau of the Public Debt (BPD) consolidation plan is a good step for those dedicated employees who want to continue to serve in the D.C. metro area"