Lawmakers Seek USDA Telework Policy Investigation

Two Senate Agriculture Committee members are questioning the Department of Agriculture’s telework policy.

Republicans John Boozman of Arkansas and Joni Ernst of Iowa request USDA’s Inspector General build upon its oversight of the federal agency’s telework abuse and expand its investigation into the department’s footprint and workforce. In a letter, Boozman and Ernst called for an enhanced investigation after USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack was questioned during a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing last month. The committee focused on a department supervisor’s revelation to the committee that the agency’s headquarters resemble a “ghost town,” to which the secretary claimed that his employees and managers are in the D.C. office “a majority of the week.”

The letter states, “Secretary Vilsack’s apparent misapprehension regarding the telework posture of his workforce underlines the importance of comprehensive reviews, audits, and evaluations of the USDA’s telework, locality pay, and space utilization policies.” The letter requests a response by March 27, 2024.