Members of Maryland's congressional delegation have negotiated a four year delay in plans to move hundreds of federal jobs from Hyattsville to Parkersburg, WV, according to an announcement posted on Sen. Ben Cardin's (D-MD) website on Thursday. The announcement was shared by Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski and Reps. Donna Edwards, Steny Hoyer, Chris Van Hollen, Elijah Cummings and John Sarbanes.
In August, local elected officials criticized a decision by the Government Services Administration to relocate 450 positions within the Treasury Department's Financial Management Services Facility from their current location at the Metro Center II building at 3700 East-West Highway in Hyattsville to the offices of the Bureau of Public Debt in downtown Parkersburg, a city of 31,000 on West Virginia's western border with Ohio. The move is part of a consolidation between the two bureaus.
According to a lease extension detailed in a General Services Administration Memo from Dec. 6, 2011, The Financial Management Service currently rents 327,000 square feet of the Metro Center II building for roughly $8.5 million per year.
“My colleagues and I have fought hard to keep FMS in Hyattsville and the Department of Treasury’s decision to remain in Prince George’s County for the next six years is very good news," said Sen. Cardin in the announcement. "Prince George’s County is ideally situated to serve the federal government and I will continue to work with the County and its business leaders to bring more federal facilities to the County."
The move was supposed to save $96 million over three years according to The Washington Post.
“We must have a more frugal government, but not one that hangs our people out to dry," said Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) in the announcement. "These hardworking civil servants have training, expertise and institutional knowledge that can’t be reproduced anywhere else."
The jobs were originally supposed to begin relocating in 2015. Employees of the Hyattsville Financial Management Services offices had to decide wether or not they would follow their jobs to Parkersburg and the banks of the Ohio River, which forms the border between West Virginia and Ohio, or find work elsewhere. Now, that date has been pushed back to 2019.
In the announcement, members of Maryland's congressional delegation framed the news as an economic victory for Prince George's County and the area's federal workforce. Each echoed a common theme: the delay would allow workers more time to decide if they wanted to move to West Virginia.
“I applaud Treasury’s decision to extend the deadline for employees to develop their transition plans," said Holland in the announcement. "This additional time will ensure that the transition process moves deliberately and transparently and that the employees who have dedicated years of service to FMS can make the best choice for themselves and their families."
“This is a significant victory for our FMS workers and Prince George’s County," Said Edwards in the announcement. "Prince George’s County boasts a tremendous federal workforce. I will continue to fight on their behalf and bring further economic development to the county.”
According to the Charleston Daily Mail in Charleston, WV, members of West Virginia's congressional delegation were–as of Thursday evening–unaware that the move had been delayed.