How essential is your agency? - New York News

How essential is your agency?

Posted: Updated:
  • Government ShutdownMore>>

  • Key support for budget deal; deficits would rise

    Key support for budget deal; deficits would rise

    Wednesday, December 11 2013 6:48 PM EST2013-12-11 23:48:33 GMT
    A newly minted budget deal to avert future government shutdowns gained important ground Wednesday among House Republicans who are more accustomed to brinkmanship than compromise, even though it would nudge federal deficits higher three years in a row.
    A newly minted budget deal to avert future government shutdowns gained important ground Wednesday among House Republicans who are more accustomed to brinkmanship than compromise, even though it would nudge federal deficits higher three years in a row.
  • Shutdown lawnmower man honored with new chainsaw

    Shutdown lawnmower man honored with new chainsaw

    Wednesday, November 13 2013 1:44 PM EST2013-11-13 18:44:34 GMT
    The man who mowed the lawn around the Lincoln Memorial during the shutdown is getting honored Wednesday. Chris Cox was out at the Lincoln Memorial with a lawnmower and chain saw in early October.
    The man who mowed the lawn around the Lincoln Memorial during the shutdown is getting honored Wednesday. Chris Cox was out at the Lincoln Memorial with a lawnmower and chain saw in early October.
  • For Cuccinelli, few good options on shutdown

    For Cuccinelli, few good options on shutdown

    Wednesday, October 23 2013 4:50 PM EDT2013-10-23 20:50:09 GMT
    The 16-day partial government shutdown is all but certain to figure prominently in Thursday's final sparring match between candidates in the governor's race. And that could be a problem for Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli.
    The 16-day partial government shutdown is all but certain to figure prominently in Thursday's final sparring match between candidates in the governor's race. And that could be a problem for Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli.
WASHINGTON -

NASA may have the Right Stuff, but it's not essential.

In fact, of all the larger government agencies, NASA is sending the largest percentage home in the government shutdown because they are considered not essential.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Department of Veterans Affairs, which usually doesn't grab attention unless something goes wrong, has one of the highest percentage of workers considered essential and staying on.

In a city where being essential is considered as fundamental as breathing, the essential workers number is the real indicator of importance — politically and otherwise.

It's the essential number on being essential.

"It tells you who has juice and who can protect their workers," said Paul Light, a professor of public service at New York University. "It is an indicator of who is popular, who is homecoming queen, who is homecoming king and who is coming in last."

NASA comes up last.

Only 3 percent of its workers are essential. The space agency doesn't have a launch scheduled until November. The space shuttle has been retired for a couple of years. The phrase "The Right Stuff" showing astronauts' can-do spirit dates to a movie and book that are at least 30 years old.

The space agency, which turned 55 on the day it essentially shut its doors, took seriously the threshold of only using workers protecting life or property, so "it doesn't mean (NASA) isn't important by any stretch," agency spokesman Bob Jacobs said Monday before he was deemed nonessential.

In general, about 60 percent of the 2.1 million federal workforce is still working during the shutdown. But some not-so-loved federal agencies can't even muster 10 percent on the essential meter.

The Environmental Protection Agency, often a whipping boy for Republicans in Congress, has only 6 percent of its workers listed as essential. So does the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Ever the decimal counters, the Internal Revenue Service has only 9.3 percent working during the shutdown.

On the low side of the essential ranking, you can find the departments of Education (10 percent), Treasury (18 percent), Interior (20 percent), and Labor (22 percent).

Even working in James Bond type agencies doesn't give you more juice than the people who deal with planes, trains and automobiles — or even tomatoes.

About 30 percent of civilian workers in the nation's intelligence agencies are still working, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper told Congress Wednesday. That's about the same as the Department of Agriculture, but nothing compared with the 67 percent of Department of Transportation workers are still on the job.

The Department of Homeland Security with 86 percent and Justice Department with 84 percent are in the homecoming court of the essential worker list.

Then there's the VA, where 95 percent of employees are still on the job, and the Department of State. Unlike other agency, State Department officials don't have an official percentage for how many of their workers are essential, but said Wednesday essentially none of the 77,000 employees has been furloughed.

"You cannot close a VA hospital. You can't do it politically. You can't do it for the good of the patient," Light said.

The whole essential ranking "is a little bit of 'Mean Girls' mixed in with 'The Right Stuff,'" Light said. "Only 'The Right Stuff' doesn't happen to be the space program."

___

By SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science Writer

Seth Borenstein can be followed at http://twitter.com/borenbears

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Special Olympics: Athlete Jessica Spitz

    Special Olympics: Athlete Jessica Spitz

    Friday, April 18 2014 6:35 PM EDT2014-04-18 22:35:09 GMT
    Jessica Spitz, 18, is training for one of the biggest days of her life. The Commack, Long Island, High School senior will be competing in the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in the 100-yard dash and the shot put. From the moment Jessica joined Special Olympics last year, she was hooked.
    Jessica Spitz, 18, is training for one of the biggest days of her life. The Commack, Long Island, High School senior will be competing in the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in the 100-yard dash and the shot put. From the moment Jessica joined Special Olympics last year, she was hooked.
  • Faithful flock to Bronx church for its grotto water

    Faithful flock to Bronx church for its grotto water

    Friday, April 18 2014 5:43 PM EDT2014-04-18 21:43:31 GMT
    While a thousand people streamed into a courtyard at St. Lucy Parish in the Bronx to watch a reenactment of the crucifixion of Christ, next door a steady trickle of believers quietly collected water from that church's grotto, taking the liquid home to heal, cure, and bless.
    While a thousand people streamed into a courtyard at St. Lucy Parish in the Bronx to watch a reenactment of the crucifixion of Christ, next door a steady trickle of believers quietly collected water from that church's grotto, taking the liquid home to heal, cure, and bless.
  • Community celebrates renovated Queens Library branch damaged by Sandy

    Community celebrates renovated Queens Library branch damaged by Sandy

    Friday, April 18 2014 5:13 PM EDT2014-04-18 21:13:20 GMT
    It's been nearly a year and a half since Superstorm Sandy tore through the Queens Library Arverne branch in the Rockaways. Now it is back in business.Sandy left behind 4 feet of water. A massive renovation -- gutting, cleaning, repainting, rewiring -- was needed to get everything back up to speed. The library, which reopened March 18, is a vital part of the community.
    It's been nearly a year and a half since Superstorm Sandy tore through the Queens Library Arverne branch in the Rockaways. Now it is back in business.Sandy left behind 4 feet of water. A massive renovation -- gutting, cleaning, repainting, rewiring -- was needed to get everything back up to speed. The library, which reopened March 18, is a vital part of the community.

Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices