Trump signs executive order to remove protections from federal employees

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Donald Trump signs an executive order forcing government agencies to reclassify any competitive, protected federal employees as Schedule-F workers by January 19, the day before inauguration.

The order applies to employees who serve in “confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, and policy-advocating positions.”

Positions in the new Schedule F would effectively constitute at-will employment, without any of the protections against adverse personnel actions that most federal workers currently enjoy, although individual agencies are tasked with establishing “rules to prohibit the same personnel practices prohibited” by Title 5 of the U.S. Code. The order also instructs the Federal Labor Relations Authority to examine whether Schedule F employees should be removed from their bargaining units, a move that would bar them from being represented by federal employee unions.

Government Executive

Experts says the order allows Donald Trump and future presidents to purge “disloyal” employees at government agencies and replace them with partisan employees and loyalists.

It wants to undo what the Pendleton Act and subsequent civil service laws tried to accomplish, which was to create a career civil service with expertise that is both accountable to elected officials but also a repository of expertise in government. The argument here is that anyone involved in policymaking can be swept into this new classification, and once they’re in they’re subject to political review and dismissal for any reason.

Donald Kettl, University of Texas professor at Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs

This is not the Trump Administration’s first effort to mass remove federal employees and weaken government agencies.

Sources

https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-creating-schedule-f-excepted-service/

https://www.govexec.com/management/2020/10/stunning-executive-order-would-politicize-civil-service/169479/

https://www.govexec.com/management/2020/11/omb-reportedly-designates-88-its-employees-schedule-f/170275/

Photo: Matt Johnson (Cropped)

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