As part of the Bureau of Land Management’s move to send part of its workforce to a new headquarters in Grand Junction, so, too, is a move to cut the salaries of those who head west.
The Hill reviewed an employees-only web page that read, in part, “We hope employees will be able to follow their positions to the new locations but there are many factors that an individual may consider when deciding whether or not to relocate, so, it’s difficult to say at this time exactly how many people will choose to relocate.”
Working in Washington, D.C., gives BLM employees a 30% increase in “locality pay,” or the part of their salary that compensates for cost of living. It is unclear what the locality pay would be in Grand Junction, but it will likely be substantially lower than 30%.
The justification for moving employees to Colorado’s 16th-most populous city (that is 200 miles from a major airport) is to have the workforce closer to the assets it manages: 245 million acres of public land in the West.
Critics have asserted that the Trump administration is attempting to drain the expertise of the bureau by asking longtime employees to choose between quitting or relocating to an area with 2% of the population of the D.C. metro area.
Acting BLM director William Perry Pendley, who himself will remain in D.C., said earlier this month that he is “being as compassionate as we possibly can."