Uncertainty Addressed by FEDS President
As the President of FEDS, I didn’t know whether to celebrate the agreement to fund agencies through midFebruary or to commiserate over the uncertainty that lies ahead. What I did know, as a former federal employee of a law enforcement agency, is that the fallout of a shutdown brings uncertainty into homes of employees and frustration where offices or agencies are unstaffed or understaffed. Due to the potential stress caused by such circumstances, I made the decision early on in December that FEDS member benefits would not be interrupted and that policies would remain in-force, even if there were missed payments during or because of a shutdown. I feel that it was necessary then, and now more than ever, that you know that we are in this with all federal employees, and that we will always have your back.
If your agency was affected by the shutdown, I think it’s important now to address those things you and your colleagues may experience as you return to work in addition to the uncertainty of the coming weeks:
- Overwhelming workload - you are not alone. Do the best you can with the time and resources you have. Prioritize. Know which things you can safely postpone, and which things demand your attention.
- Resentment – if you are one of the many officers who worked without pay, you may understandably feel resentment towards those who did not. Keep in mind, this was not their decision nor was it easy or fair to anyone.
- Political commentary - we recommend you talk about this at the dinner table and not at work, if at all possible. Emphasize the need to respect individual differences in the workplace, encourage each other to maintain civility and engage one another in a professional manner. Ensure that your comments and/or actions do not make others feel uncomfortable, harassed or intimidated. If you are a manager or supervisor, you are responsible for discontinuing any conversations that become aggressive, disrespectful, or threatening.
- Perceived judgment - for a variety of reasons. Remember, this was a political problem, not an employee one. Be respectful of the hardships and sacrifices made by your coworkers - everyone's situation is different.
We communicated our commitment to federal employees early on in this shutdown. We hope you'll get through this with as little disruption as possible.
We thank you for your service and ask that you continue doing what you do to keep our nation safe; please don't hesitate to contact me or my staff with any questions or needs during this trying time.
Posted in The Spotlight