Washington D.C. is filled with lifelong bureaucrats who have job security most people only dream about. Regardless of their performance, many government workers can never be fired… but it looks like that’s about to change.
Liberals are furious over a new executive order signed by President Trump that removes some of the protections enjoyed by unelected, career swamp creatures.
Career federal employees whose work involves making policy would no longer be hired under competitive procedures and would lose their civil service protections from being fired as well as eligibility to be represented by a union, under an executive order that President Donald Trump issued Wednesday.
[These people are not elected, but get to control very important aspects of American life.]
The order would shift those employees from what is called the “competitive service”-covering the bulk of the 2.1 million executive branch employees-into the “excepted service,” which in general applies to political appointees below the level requiring Senate confirmation.
“This is the most profound undermining of the civil service in our lifetimes,” American Federation of Government Employees president Everett Kelley said in a statement. “The president has doubled down on his effort to politicize and corrupt the professional service.”
“This executive order strips due process rights and protections from perhaps hundreds of thousands of federal employees and will enable political appointees and other officials to hire and fire these workers at will,” he said.
Trump said his order will “give agencies greater ability and discretion to assess critical qualities in applicants to fill these positions, such as work ethic, judgment, and ability to meet the particular needs of the agency.”
Among career employees, the “excepted service” mainly applies only in positions in which it is not practical to use competitive processes in hiring, such as administrative law judges and attorneys. Agencies also have greater disciplining such employees.
The order tells agencies to conduct an initial review within three months, and a full review within seven months, of their positions “of a confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character not normally subject to change as a result of a Presidential transition.”
Agencies then are to ask the Office of Personnel Management to move those positions into a newly created category of the excepted service, although a list of “prohibited personnel practices” such as discrimination and nepotism would continue to apply to them.”
While not defining which occupations would be affected, such duties would include development or advocacy of policy; involvement with writing regulations and guidance; work in an agency component that primarily focuses on policy; supervision of attorneys; work in the agency’s executive secretariat; conducting negotiations with employee unions; or work that includes “substantial discretion to determine the manner in which the agency exercises functions committed to the agency by law.”
The order cites “the need to provide agency heads with additional flexibility to assess prospective appointees without the limitations imposed by competitive service selection procedures. Placing these positions in the excepted service will mitigate undue limitations on their selection.”
It also says that “Career employees in confidential, policy-determining, policy making, and policy-advocating positions wield significant influence over Government operations and effectiveness. Agencies need the flexibility to expeditiously remove poorly performing employees from these positions without facing extensive delays or litigation.”
The order follows the recent issuance of rules telling agencies to provide only the minimal accommodations required by law to assist under-performing employees before disciplining them and to make the maximum use of their discretion in choosing discipline either for poor performance or misconduct.