New Public Debt jobs put on hold

PARKERSBURG – The 450 jobs to be brought to the Bureau of the Public Debt in Parkersburg have been put on hold for at least the next six years, officials in Maryland announced Thursday.

A press release issued Thursday stated U.S. Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin along with Reps. Donna F. Edwards, Steny Hoyer, Chris Van Hollen, Elijah E. Cummings and John Sarbanes, all D-Md., said the Treasury Department and General Service Administration (GSA) will delay the move of the jobs from Prince George’s County, Md., to Wood County until the end of 2019.

The 450 positions are part of a Federal Management Services (FMS) facility in Hyattsville, Md. The Treasury Department announced plans to move the positions to Parkersburg in late November 2013.

Maryland lawmakers fought to keep the jobs in their state.

“Today’s announcement is good news for jobs in Prince George’s County, for Maryland and for the duty driven civil servants at the Hyattsville FMS facility dedicated to good government and public service,” Mikulski said in the press release. “We must have a more frugal government, but not one that hangs our people out to dry.”

Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell said he heard of the plan to delay the jobs Thursday afternoon.

“They’re still coming,” Newell said. “It’s just going to be a slower process.”

Newell said he understands the lawmakers in Maryland’s decision to allow the employees to have until 2019 to make the decision to move, but he is disappointed they’re not coming as quickly.

“I know they are trying to be thoughtful of this for their community,” Newell said. “(The city of Parkersburg) still looks forward to the expansion of Public Debt, and the 1,800-plus employees we have here (now).”

U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., issued a statement in July 2012 in response to the initial proposal to bring the federal jobs to Parkersburg. In the July letter to Secretary Timothy F. Geithner with the U.S. Department of Treasury Rockefeller made a plea for the department to consider the expanded role the addition of jobs to the bureau could have in the Parkersburg area.

He asked to “take into account West Virginia’s well-qualified workforce and substantially lower operating costs, as you assess the agency’s ongoing needs.”

Of the news Thursday, Rockefeller said his main goal is to protect the jobs the bureau now offers in Wood County.

“My priority remains making sure that every single one of the 1,850 jobs currently at the Bureau of Public Debt in Parkersburg stays there,” he said Thursday. “Which I made very clear to Treasury Secretary Geither in a letter in July; the Treasury Department has made clear that those jobs will stay in West Virginia.”