Government Shutdown and the Peace Corps
By Jonathan Pearson on Tuesday, October 1st, 2013
Like other federal agencies, the United States Peace Corps has implemented a partial shutdown of operations due to the absence of an agreed upon appropriation or a continuing resolution, as the new fiscal year (FY 2014) gets underway.
While the length of the shutdown is uncertain, the Peace Corps has provided this document on how it will operate during this period. A summary of some key elements of that plan are below:
Volunteers Will Remain at Posts:
Peace Corps indicates volunteers will remain in the field, citing:
- time (“It would take between 15 and 30 days to complete the process of evacuating all Volunteers…”)
- cost (approximately $29 million to bring all Volunteers home, with minimal savings in operating costs)
- impact (“…significant but unquantifiable intangible losses to the U.S. government since much of the goodwill that Volunteers have built…would be lost…”)
The Peace Corps notes “evacuating Volunteers and returning them to their homes of record would only be justified by a much more substantial lapse in appropriations than the agency expects. The agency has, therefore, determined that the Peace Corps is not required during a lapse in appropriated funding to take any action to evacuate Volunteers and return them to their homes of record.”
Nearly 60% of Peace Corps Staff Affected:
The Peace Corps reports 1,055 employees. All 343 overseas staff (both U.S. and foreign service nationals), as well as 58 staff at Peace Corps Headquarters would be retained “to protect life or property.”
Among the staff who would not be working during the shutdown include (but are not limited to) staff working in the following divisions:
- Volunteer recruitment, selection and placement
- Office of Third Goal and Returned Volunteer Services
- Office of Communications
- Office of Strategic Information, Research and Planning
- Office of Overseas Programming and Training Support
- Office of Civil Rights and Diversity
- Office of Strategic Partnerships
Those who will be working:
- Office of the Peace Corps Director – 4
- Office of Global Operations – 17
- Office of Health Services – 20
- Office of Acquisitions and Contract Management – 2
- Office of Safety and Security – 3
- Office of the Chief Financial Officer – 12
- Office of Management – 5
- Office of the Chief Information Officer – 11
- Upcoming stagings for the next several weeks would not be impacted by the shutdown: “The Acting Director has determined that Volunteer stagings scheduled for up to three weeks after the beginning of a funding hiatus should be continued. Other scheduled Volunteer stagings may be continued at the discretion of the Acting Director on a case-by-case basis.
- An immediate hiring freeze will begin, with no new job offers and any firm or tentative job offers suspended until the end of the shutdown.
- All staff training will be suspended during the shutdown.
- General services, transportation, supplies and acquisition staffs will be curtailed and will be available only to support excepted or otherwise funded activities.
Thanks to NPCA Advocacy Intern Sam Foote for contributing to this post.