|Food Safety and Inspection
United States Department of Agriculture
Washington, D.C. 20250-3700
Communications to Congress
March 7, 2001
The Honorable Thad Cochran
Chairman, Committee on Appropriations,
Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural
Development and Related Agencies
United States Senate
136 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Mr. Chairman:
Enclosed is the quarterly report of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), which provides an update on budget execution, staffing levels and staffing needs for the first quarter of fiscal year (FY) 2001. This report was requested by the conferees in the Conference Report accompanying the FY 2001 Agriculture Appropriations Act, P.L. 106-387.
We are very pleased to report that FSIS reached its FY 2000 goal of 7,610 in-plant permanent full-time employment by September 30, 2000 and ended the year at 7,643, as discussed in our FY 2000 fourth quarter report delivered to you on January 19, 2001. For FY 2001, FSIS has established 7,610 as a sustainable base or "floor" level for in-plant permanent full-time employment. At present, temporary authority has been granted to allow in-plant employment to rise to 7,660 knowing that employment fluctuates each month based on our ability to hire and attrition. Having a targeted range for in-plant employment will ensure that FSIS has adequate resources to meet industry demand for inspection services. The enclosed report shows a first quarter decrease in employment due to the large number of employees retiring at the end of December. Employment increased above 7,600 again in January and the Agency is on target to meet its employment goals through the end of the year.
As a result of increases in permanent full-time employment, FSIS does not expect to utilize the same level of other-than-permanent employees in FY 2001 as were used in FY 2000. Since the Agency continues to find it difficult to hire other-than-permanent employees, we believe it is prudent to continue to focus recruitment activities on hiring permanent full-time employees.
FSIS remains conscious of the Congressional mandate included in the FY 2001 appropriation, as well as the previous FY 2000 appropriation, that specifies a minimum dollar limit that must be used for Federal Food Inspection. For FY 2001, this amount is $591,258,000. Based on first quarter data, FSIS is on course to meet this funding level.
The in-plant slaughter staffing profile included in the report reflects coverage of positions at approximately 600 slaughter and combination slaughter and processing establishments. The difference between the number of positions and permanent full-time employment is the number of other types of staffing used to provide full coverage of all slaughter positions. Other types of staffing are defined in the report and their distribution represents the predominant pattern of slaughter inspection coverage. Unlike last year, which reflected slight increases for additional positions throughout the year, the first quarter of FY 2001 reflects a decrease in the number of slaughter line positions. This decrease provides more opportunity to assure existing positions are staffed properly.
We have provided copies of the report to Senator Kohl and all Members of the Subcommittee in addition to your counterparts in the House. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to call the FSIS Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202-720-3897.
/s/THOMAS J. BILLY
For Further Information Contact:
FSIS Congressional and Public Affairs Staff
Phone: (202) 720-3897
Fax: (202) 720-5704
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