Big changes are coming to the Cleveland office of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, which manages paychecks for active members of the Navy and Marine Corps as well as pay services for retirees in other branches of the military. 

The office has long enjoyed support from our Congressional leaders because of the 2,500 jobs it provides in the region. Prior to the pandemic, DFAS–as it is known in military parlance–occupied 15 floors of the Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building, on East Ninth Street and Lakeside Avenue, and two floors of the North Point Building across the street. But during the pandemic, as workers largely went remote, DFAS reduced its office footprint here and across the country. 

Now, according to information shared with Signal Cleveland by employees, DFAS has ordered workers to return to the office a minimum of two days per week (or four per two-week pay period) beginning Jan. 14. In a lengthy Teams call with employees, DFAS officials described the announcement as a “significant change” but said flexibility is key to the “new posture.”

Officials noted the requirement to return to the office is “non-negotiable.” They said that in-person work is needed to better train a significant number of new employees and those changing jobs within the department. Officials also noted that there will be tax implications for many people, who will again have to pay Cleveland taxes for the days they work in the office. 

A DFAS spokesman said in an email that “after evaluating what the optimal operating environment is … DFAS has decided that most employees will be required to report to on-site duty location.”

Some DFAS employees are not happy because they have built work and family routines around the new normal. But Cleveland City Hall will likely welcome the news because it relies on income taxes for the bulk of its operating money. The city has been propped up by federal COVID relief money during the last two years. But that money will not be available in the city’s next budget.

Managing Editor, News (he/him)
Mark is a veteran journalist with experience in alternative media, print, digital and television news. For 19 years, he was a groundbreaking reporter and metro columnist with The Plain Dealer and Most recently, Mark spent three years as an investigative, enterprise and breaking news reporter at WKYC-TV, where his "Leading the Land" series on Cleveland's 2021 mayoral primary race earned a regional Emmy.