InsideSources cited Trey Kovacs on the irony and need for getting rid of “official time” where union officials are paid with tax-payer dollars while conducting union business but do no work for the public agency from which they’re paid.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued the report which looked at official time usage across the federal government in 2016. The report estimated that the total taxpayer-funded costs for official time hours hit $174.8 million. Official time is also estimated to have totaled 3,611,112 hours during that time.
“Right now it is the law that unions officials, people working on union business, who are government employees, can collect their taxpayer salaries in order to do union work rather than public work,” Michael Watson, the research director for the conservative Capital Research Center, told InsideSources. “And this new report from the Office of Personnel Management lays out the damage to taxpayers.”
Those opposed to the policy have denounced it as a waste of taxpayer dollars that is only intended to benefit unions. They argue that the policy diverts resources and personnel away from the public works they’re intended for. Some critics have suggested reforms to make the practice more transparent – while others have urged it to be scrapped altogether.
“My advice to Congress would be to get rid of official time,” Competitive Enterprise Institute labor policy expert Trey Kovacs told InsideSources. “It’s a waste of taxpayer dollars. Federal officials are hired to fulfill the mission of the agency, not perform whatever union business it is that they’re doing. I think there is a reasonable way to get rid of official time and eliminate the reason why a union says they need official time.”