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Mon Oct 7, 2019, 11:52 AM

The Trump Administration Has Figured out How to Get Rid of Federal Workers Without Firing Them


The Trump Administration Has Figured out How to Get Rid of Federal Workers Without Firing Them
“What a wonderful way to sort of streamline government.”
Nathalie Baptiste


“It’s nearly impossible to fire a federal worker,” acting White House chief of staff and budget chief Mick Mulvaney told the audience at a South Carolina Republicans’ dinner in August. “I know that because a lot of them work for me, and I’ve tried. You can’t do it.”

But Mulvaney reassured his audience that the Trump administration seems to have found a loophole. “By simply saying to people, ‘You know what? We’re going to take you outside the bubble, outside the Beltway, outside this liberal haven of Washington, DC, and move you out to the real part of the country,’ and they quit,” he explained. “What a wonderful way to sort of streamline government and do what we haven’t been able to do for a long time.”

Mulvaney was referring to the June announcement from Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, when he told 181 staff members at the USDA’s Economic Research Service office that in just three months they would be relocated to new offices over one-thousand miles away in Kansas City, Missouri. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture, another small scientific agency at USDA, would also be moving to the midwest. ERS conducts research on agriculture and economics, and Perdue said the move would help the staff be closer to midwestern farming regions and save taxpayer dollars. In return, officials in Kansas City offered $26 million in incentives, but Perdue refused to disclose the details. The workers could either uproot their lives and move or lose their government jobs.

The announcement was met with shock. The deadline to decide whether or not an employee was moving to Kansas City expired on September 30, but the union negotiated the option for employees to request another 60-day extension. It appears that most had already made their decision before the deadline. Of the 181 employees told to relocate, only 16 did. Another 24 will remain in their positions in DC. But a whopping 141 employees, or 78 percent, left ERS completely. The relocation also resulted in the number of women working in research and administrative positions dropping. According to data provided to Mother Jones, women made up 36 percent of the employees before the move. Now, that number is down to 30 percent. The numbers are even more striking in Kansas City. Of the 27 people working there, only one is a woman.

“None of us believed it would happen,” Laura Dodson, the acting Vice President of the ERS union, told me. “He didn’t have the authority, it wasn’t backed by Congress, and every scientist in our field said don’t [move the office.]” The USDA inspector general issued a report saying that while Perdue had the legal authority to move the offices, congressional approval is needed before any agency can be reorganized. Perdue argued that that provision was unconstitutional and forged ahead.

Those who left were not necessarily giving up large salaries or a flashy job, what they did lose was security. The salaries for civil servants range from more than $19,000 to around $138,000, but federal employment also is accompanied by generous retirement packages and quality health care. Today, 364,000 federal government employees call the Washington, DC, metropolitan area home. Since Reagan insisted “government is the problem,” federal employees have been demonized by those on the right, and the Trump administration has been no exception. Donald Trump campaigned on “draining the swamp,” and that effort appears to include debilitating the civil service in government agencies. “It was done with malice,” Dodson argues. “They intended for us to leave.”

more...

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2019/10/the-trump-administration-has-figured-out-how-to-get-rid-of-federal-workers-without-firing-them/

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Reply The Trump Administration Has Figured out How to Get Rid of Federal Workers Without Firing Them (Original post)
babylonsister Oct 2019 OP
BumRushDaShow Oct 2019 #1
rampartc Oct 2019 #2
babylonsister Oct 2019 #3
Thomas Hurt Oct 2019 #4
iluvtennis Oct 2019 #14
rampartc Oct 2019 #5
Thomas Hurt Oct 2019 #19
Tanuki Oct 2019 #10
Backseat Driver Oct 2019 #8
Backseat Driver Oct 2019 #6
Wellstone ruled Oct 2019 #7
TheBlackAdder Oct 2019 #9
Bernardo de La Paz Oct 2019 #11
yuiyoshida Oct 2019 #12
SunSeeker Oct 2019 #13
aka-chmeee Oct 2019 #15
spanone Oct 2019 #16
Wounded Bear Oct 2019 #17
KPN Oct 2019 #18
Laura PourMeADrink Oct 2019 #20
bigbrother05 Oct 2019 #21
c-rational Oct 2019 #22
IronLionZion Oct 2019 #23

Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 11:55 AM

1. Sadly they have been doing this for a long time

"Reorganization".

Often a sympathetic (powerful) Senator can step in and halt it but apparently they had no such among the Senate GOP cowards.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 12:04 PM

2. of course government employees can be fired

if this idiot does not know how i'm sure human relations can help.

moving agencies to places where they may be more effective is the right thing to do. moving agencies in order to uproot employees and prompt them to quit is stupid and counterproductive.

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Response to rampartc (Reply #2)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 12:10 PM

3. I was a fed. employee for 11 years. I

think it is very difficult to fire anyone, or it was back in the day. A person had to do something really egregious to get the ax.

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Response to babylonsister (Reply #3)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 12:12 PM

4. I know we can't seem to get rid of Trump no matter what he does....

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Response to Thomas Hurt (Reply #4)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 02:02 PM

14. OK, that deserves an old school boo yah.

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Response to babylonsister (Reply #3)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 12:12 PM

5. i am a retired federal employee

and yrs, you have to do something wrong (and documented by management) to be fired, but why would you want to fire anyone else?

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Response to rampartc (Reply #5)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 02:41 PM

19. Cuz they want to replace you with an apparatchik or ratf**ker.

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Response to babylonsister (Reply #3)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 01:29 PM

10. It may be hard to fire an individual employee, but it is not uncommon for

a federal agency to eliminate many workers all at once with a "reduction in force."
https://ask.fedweek.com/federal-government-policies/reduction-in-force/
"When an agency conducts a significant job reduction, it must use formal reduction in force procedures published by the Office of Personnel Management. These rules create four standards for determining which employees are released, and which are retained, either in their current positions or in another position:

tenure of employment (such as type of appointment);veterans preference;length of service; andperformance ratings.

An agency is required to use the RIF procedures when an employee is faced with separation or downgrading for a reason such as reorganization, lack of work, shortage of funds, insufficient personnel ceiling, or the exercise of certain reemployment or restoration rights. A furlough of more than 30 calendar days, or of more than 22 discontinuous work days, is also a RIF action. (A furlough of 30 or fewer calendar days, or of 22 or fewer discontinuous work days, is an adverse action.)

The agency has the responsibility to decide whether a RIF is necessary, when it will take place, and what positions are abolished. However, the abolishment of a position does not always require the use of RIF procedures. The agency may reassign an employee without regard to RIF procedures to a vacant position at the same grade or pay, regardless of where the position is located."...(more)

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Response to rampartc (Reply #2)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 12:49 PM

8. You are correct but that's what they do in corporate America as well

Last edited Mon Oct 7, 2019, 02:05 PM - Edit history (1)

Check out what happened to the old Berry Co that did the phone books following their takeover by Carlson Marketing employees in Dayton OH. There was a big meeting at the Victory Theater explaining how employees could indicate interest in relocation along with HQ to Minneapolis - then all but a handful of executive types made the move - nope, not taking anybody else and a wholesale layoff ensued for the rest.

Of course, there's this:

At the local level, county appointees are sacked in "closed" county commissioner hearings to "discuss personnel" and the targeted appointee denied due process of attendance nor allowed legal representation for/at same...no access to - or need of fault documentation either and one's salary is at the mercy of TPTB - Poof - you're gone! Could it have been because when one is told to go to State Civil Service Board hearing to can a staff worker responsible for tweaking the experimental PROMIS prosecutor system of Fed-stolen software....hmmmm... Auld Lang Syne water over the dam...lots of crazy stuff going on in late '80s (Reagan era) when small intelligence groups do an "end-around" Presidential policies and find creative solutions to funding it - Just sayin'

Adding links: https://fas.org/irp/offdocs/walsh/

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 12:15 PM

6. Federal civil service personnel responsibilities split up

between the following two entities:

Acting Office of Personnel Management - Margaret Weichert

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Weichert

United States Merit Systems Protection Board

Vacant - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Merit_Systems_Protection_Board

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 12:30 PM

7. This idea of moving Agencies out of D.C.

is not new. The only reason it was never done before was,the Political Price that will be paid down the road.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 12:58 PM

9. Back in the 80s & 90s, banks/ins cos would do this to keep payroll low and purge higher paid clerks.

.

They would move across the state, where no one would really drive 90 minutes, or they would move out of the city to a rural setting that was impossible to commute to. Those few who followed were eventually let go, many after paying and performing a relocation--stranding them in a new town away from family or any other jobs.

.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 01:30 PM

11. It's particularly directed at the SCIENTISTS in EPA, NOAA, and Agriculture. Chinese hoax? So tRump a


If global warming is a Chinese hoax, why did tRump ask them for dirt on Biden? He needs dirt manufactured.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 01:49 PM

12. Republicans are sick, assed bastards...

all their care about is what's theirs.. and what they can STEAL from the US Government.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 01:54 PM

13. It's an old Republican ploy. I remember GOP officials here in CA pulling that shit.

For example, former GOP AGs here in CA dismantled environmental enforcement in CA by restructuring the CA AG office to eviscerate the Natural Resources/Environmental Law section, moving attorneys to do other work. Fortunately for CA, those GOP officials were replaced with Dem officials, who reestablished things, and CA has kept it that way, much to the benefit of CA environmental quality.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 02:07 PM

15. Two reasons sh*t is running from the swamp...

1. Someone is draining it.

2. It's overflowing.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 02:08 PM

16. let's send mulvaney a one-way ticket

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 02:15 PM

17. "We don't fire people. We just make working here such a pain you'll want to quit."

An old saying I remember from many years ago. Was meant in jest, of course (I think).

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 02:29 PM

18. This isn't a new way of forcing employees out. In the past it

was principally used to incentivize long-standing underperforming employees to leave federal service. In my 35 year career, I saw it used rarely and there was typically a long or particularly egregious history behind the circumstance. It was used for “problem” employees. Mulvaney, tRump have simply applied the method at a different scale (en masse) and to a different definition of “problem employee”, I.e., smart, well-informed, capable, professional career civil servants who have risen to influential positions based on those traits, past performance, hard work and non-partisan dedication to executing federal law and regulations that have emanated from those laws. That is also how they tRump et al) define “swamp”.

They take credit for creative new efficiencies when in fact all they’ve done is what flim-flammers have always done — taken advantage of norms in twisted, sociopathic ways for greedy purpose.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 02:51 PM

20. Back in the Bush years

I had an assignment at USDA. They decided to uproot hundreds of employees to Albuquerque. People who had never known anything but DC and surrounding area. People whose friends and family were there. Many transferred out. Some moved and actually liked it. They were able to afford virtual mansions compared to DC.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 02:53 PM

21. Such action has a side 'benefit', replacing competent workers with compliant ones

If there are 181 slots and only 16 workers, they get to hire the new ones. If the decision makers are on board with the current regime, then their hiring actions will likely pick similarly inclined folks.

They can't be overt, but not hard to cull the potential "trouble makers".

Also, consider the loss of expertise in focused areas.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 03:06 PM

22. I am currently reading "on Tyranny," Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy

Snyder. It was recommended by Rachael Maddow recently. Chapter 2 is Defend Institutions...Institutions do not protect themselves. They fall one after the other unless each is defended from the begining. It seems obvious to me the Dotard dumpster in the office is using these lessons to destroy our government from within. When will our national nightmare end.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 03:41 PM

23. Contracting firms do this all the time, without reimbursing the relocation costs

they'll just say you have to report to Kansas tomorrow, call someone there to find out the address. Then you have to negotiate that it might take you 2 days to pack up your apartment, pay lease breakage, cancel your utilities, and drive halfway across the country. They'll act like you're entitled and spoiled as they let you use 2 vacation days or unpaid leave to move to Kansas and find a new apartment. You'll pay for all that yourself.

That's the bad companies who have federal contracts for low level low wage work that doesn't require US citizenship so they use visa and green card workers who don't have as many options. US citizens generally react much the same way the DUers on this thread are reacting to such a predatory abuse of workers. I speak from experience of what is literally the "dark side" of the American economy, where everyone working there is brown or an immigrant.

While it is probably a blatant way to force out economists from USDA (who tend to be liberal). The DC area would have economist jobs at other agencies, companies, universities, policy research organizations, etc. Kansas would have fewer economist jobs. Some economists might like to stay with USDA and move to Kansas where cost of living is cheaper but others would prefer to stay in DC where there are more jobs available for economists.

The Trump administration doesn't value economists because their research and findings often show that Trump's policies are doing the opposite of what he claims.

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