Young stressed that it was impossible to predict what these adjustments might entail but added that GAO headquarters and field offices are being targeted “in terms of figuring out the impacts and what can be done to absorb the budget cuts.”
He said there is a task force studying all 11 field offices around the country for possible changes and consolidations.
Some GAO employees said they have been told the consequences of these studies could be dire: 250 to 500 staffers could be let go in the next two weeks — about one-sixth of the GAO workforce of 3,000 — and two to three field offices could be shuttered.
One staffer who has worked at the GAO for almost 30 years said the cuts could be based on seniority, forcing some staffers to choose a demotion or a pay cut.
“These numbers are purely speculation, and no decisions have been made,” Young said.
The House passed a spending bill in July that would give the GAO a 6 percent cut from fiscal 2011, while the Senate Appropriations Committee endorsed a measure in September that slates a 7.6 percent reduction from the previous fiscal year.