WASHINGTON — - Senator Tom Coburn, of Oklahoma, is cracking down on wasteful spending again.
This time the target is employees who don't show up for work, who are not performing official work, or are simply not working at all.
Sen. Coburn says they cost the federal government millions in lost hours.
He sent a letter to John Berry, the director of the Office of Personnel Management, urging agency heads to avoid critical furloughs by first eliminating certain employees.
The lawmaker says, "Between 2001 and 2007, employees at 18 departments and agencies were AWOL for at least 19.6 million hours, equivalent to 9,410 years of lost work."
Dr. Coburn found that in 2011, the government spent over $155 million for employees paid to perform duties not related to the mission of their agency or the government – including union-related activities.
According to the Office of Personnel Management, this is equivalent to a full year’s worth of work for 1,632 employees.
At least 919 employees received standby pay in 2010 and 906 received it in 2011 according to the Congressional Research Service.
Coburn said targeting these areas could save billions of dollars a year.
"Enough to maintain those employees performing the truly essential missions of the federal government."
This is the twelfth letter Dr. Coburn has sent the Administration in a series of correspondence outlining responsible ways to manage sequestration.