When word gets out the federal government needs to save $4 billion, Ottawa starts to tremble.

In a city with thousands of federal workers, what happens to the public sector is a big concern.

The plan to save billions by 2014 was proposed by the government in its last budget.

Retired public servant Peter Homulos is worried.

"It doesn't seem to have been a consultative kind of process," said Homulos. "It seems to have been the government making decisions based on ideology."

Meanwhile, Government House Leader John Baird says there won't be massive layoffs. "This financial meltdown wasn't caused by the public service and they shouldn't bear the brunt of it."

There is concern, however, about what exactly will happen. Ottawa-Centre NDP candidate Paul Dewar points to what happened during Liberal-inspired cuts in the 90s. In some cases, senior public servants would enter early retirement only to return as consultants.

"We've seen since 2001, those costs skyrocket from $100 million a year for temporary help agencies to over $300 million a year," said Dewar.

There is also concern it will cause a local brain drain, meaning Ottawa's up and coming public servants would seek opportunities elsewhere.

Ottawa-Centre Liberal candidate Scott Bradley says there is reason to be concerned.

"As a community, we should be very concerned about the impact that losing this brainpower might have on the long term economic prospects of our community."

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Norman Fetterley