The U.S. Office of Personnel Management realizes that federal workers furloughed by the partial government shutdown might be having a difficult time paying their bills. So it came up with some suggestions and aids — including a sample letter in which employees offer to do chores in exchange for rent. Otherwise, “consult with your personal attorney” for legal advice, the office urged, presumably about possible credit problems.
The tone-deaf move was skewered on social media.
The OPM advice was sent Thursday in a tweet that included three “sample letters” employees could send to landlords, mortgage companies and other creditors explaining why they might be having a difficult time paying their bills just now — and offering to stretch out payments over time.
In the letter intended for landlords, workers offer to trade handyman chores — including “painting and carpentry work” — in exchange for some of the rent owed.
“I would like to discuss with you the possibility of trading my services to perform maintenance (e.g. painting, carpentry work) in exchange for partial rent payments,” stated the sample letter sent by OPM.
That, however, did not stop the scorn that was heaped on the OPM for suggesting workers who can’t pay their rent could somehow afford a “personal attorney.”
One Twitter comment encouraged Congress and President Donald Trump to do their job so about 800,000 federal workers could do theirs — and get paid. Congress will continue to be paid throughout the shutdown.
Trump has refused to sign a temporary spending measure until it includes billions of dollars for his border wall.