A new executive order from President Trump makes it easier to hire and fire civil servants that work on policy, stripping some protections from career employees before a potential change in administration.
Federal employee unions are billing the order as the biggest change to federal workforce protections in a century, converting many federal workers to “at will” employment.
It also makes it easier to hire new employees outside of the competitive process — something critics say could be used to hire policy employees without appropriate experience.
The order specifically targets policy-related career positions, a move critics say will enable the administration to fire employees that may question their policies.
“By targeting federal workers whose jobs involve government policies, the real-world implications of this order will be disastrous for public health, the environment, the defense of our nation, and virtually every facet of our lives,” Everett Kelley, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, the largest federal employee union, said in a release.
“Through this order, President Trump has declared war on the professional civil service by giving himself the authority to fill the government with his political cronies who will pledge their unwavering loyalty to him – not to America," Kelley added.
Trump’s order creates a new category of federal employment, Schedule F, and gives agencies 90 days to determine which policy-related positions should attain the new status. Those employees could then be removed for performance reasons without the opportunity to contest the decision or rely on union representation.
“Agencies need the flexibility to expeditiously remove poorly performing employees from these positions without facing extensive delays or litigation,” the order states.
The National Treasury Employees Union, another major federal workforce representative, called it “yet another in a long line of attacks on the civil service and circumvention of the laws passed by Congress to protect certain career federal employees from partisan, political interference.”
Though civil service protections are often compared to tenure for p... (Read more)
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