PARKERSBURG - More than 400 federal employees may be calling the Mid-Ohio Valley home after an announcement from the U.S. Bureau of the Public Debt.
A spokeswoman from the bureau in Washington, D.C., said Wednesday employees of the bureau were told of the move that will relocate 450 jobs from the metropolitan Washington area to Parkersburg.
"Back in February we announced the proposed consolidation of the Bureau of the Public Debt and the Financial Management Service," she said. "We provided more information to our employees for planning. The appropriation has not been finalized but we are moving forward and we have shared our plans with our workforce."
Under the plan, the jobs will be mostly accounting and information technology jobs with some management functions and related support departments. However, the move will not result in the immediate relocation of employees to the area and the first employees to be transferred may not be moving to the area until late 2013.
"They will move over two to three years in two phases," said the bureau spokeswoman, who did not want to be identifed. "The first phase may arrive in the late summer 2013 or February 2014 or they may be earlier."
She said the move is expected to save the federal government $96 million over a five-year period. The bureau has 1,900 employees in Parkersburg.
Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell said he was notified of the move late Wednesday.
"It's very good news with the move of 450 good paying jobs in Parkersburg," he said. "We've been told they will move in two phases, but it's still good news for the city and for the housing market."
Congressional approval is needed before the plan can be implemented and the addition of new positions realized. The Senate Appropriations Committee adopted the consolidation proposal earlier this summer; however, a final decision will most likely be delayed with Congress expected to pass a several month fiscal year 2013 Continuing Resolution in September.
U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said he has been closely monitoring the situation to make sure the entire Bureau of the Public Debt operation in West Virginia, which brings an annual infusion of nearly $186 million to the local economy, remains intact.
Rockefeller applauded the decision.
"Needless to say, I am absolutely thrilled to learn the administration has acted on my suggestions and plans to maintain and grow the Bureau of Public Debt in Parkersburg," Rockefeller said. "This is not only good news for the community, but for the entire Ohio Valley, which will benefit from a significant influx of high-skill, quality jobs."
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., also praised the move.
"I'm very pleased and appreciative to see the federal government is making a prudent decision by moving more than 400 jobs to West Virginia at a cost savings of tens of millions of dollars," Manchin said. "If the government wants to take commonsense steps to save even more money, I highly recommend that they continue to look at West Virginia for our cost-saving measures."
When the announcement was made in February, bureau officials stressed the move would not result in the loss of services from Parkersburg but would result in a consolidation of some staff and a reduction in redundancy.
The bureau has been in Parkersburg since 1954 when the city was designated a relocation site in the event of a national emergency.
The Bureau of Public Debt in Parkersburg - part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury - is one of the two chief offices in the country that works to finance the federal government by selling Treasury bills, notes, bonds, and U.S. Savings Bonds, Rockefeller noted. Parkersburg is the bureau's operations center for customer service, accounting and Trust Funds, he said.