Friday News Roundup I. Forest Service Funding and Belt-Tightening

Rumors of OIG Report on FS Spending on the Infrastructure Act

There are rumors of an OIG report that talks partially about the Keystone Agreements that the FS uses to help with BIL and IRA efforts.

I am finding out more about these agreements to report on here.

My current understanding is that large sums of money could go through these agreements, but actually don’t until a specific project is funded.  So the FS doesn’t have to “claw back” money because most was never sent out. Which goes to..

FS Funding Shortfall Possibilities and Plans

The Hotshot Wakeup has a story on the FS not having enough money, or tightening their belts due to lower appropriated funds in 2024, 5.2% cost of living adjustment and inflation.

Here’s the Chief’s letter.

I also heard that there are 33K permanents now, at least in part, due to fire positions going from temporary to permanent seasonals 13/13 or 18/8, which costs more due to benefits.  The idea, of course, is that life for these folks will be better under better employment conditions and more people will want to work, and fewer people leave.  My understanding is that that (33K) is more than the FS has had in previous years, but I can’t recall the exact figures by year.

I’m hoping commenters can add more context and background.


4 thoughts on “Friday News Roundup I. Forest Service Funding and Belt-Tightening”

  1. It’s great to see the chief speaking directly to employees about the current Forest Service budget situation. I would suggest, however, that this current situation should come as now surprise. For example, federal employees typically receive a pay raise each year, and the amount of that pay raise is tied to indices that, in times of inflation, go up markedly higher. In other words, I can’t imagine any agency budget director would not have seen this one coming. And the same goes with broader increases with goods and services that have been going on for awhile now. From what I have seen and heard, it appears that the FS went on a bit of an unplanned hiring and spending spree with its Inflation Reduction Act and Infrastructure funding. There does not appear to be much planning or projection that went along with these aggressive hiring efforts. I really find it hard to believe that the agency is surprised by their current situation. Anyone longtime fed has seen this before.

  2. Sharon, the shift has been from temporaries to permanent seasonals (that is not the same as permanent part time). Permanent seasonals are guaranteed a certain number of payperiods each year – it might be 13/13 (13 payperiods guaranteed full-time work and 13 payperiods not guaranteed) or 18/8 (18 payperiods guaranteed full time work and 8 not guaranteed) or some other combination.


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