Saturday, May 26, 2018

Trump Moves to Ease the Firing of Federal Workers

President Trump Weakens Federal Workforce Protections: The Merit System was put in place in 1829, to replace the “spoils” system. Prior to this, when the incumbent party lost the Presidential election, the entire federal workforce would be replaced by political appointees.

Merit principles are applied to ensure that politics doesn’t run good federal workers out of their jobs. After President Trump’s executive order of yesterday, however, there will be no more progressive discipline.

Removal can be the first penalty for any supposed infraction. It will be enough to say that an employee didn’t follow orders. An employee can be fired for conduct that is permitted to others. Improvement of conduct considered deficient must be entirely corrected within 30 days or the employee can be fired. Politics trumps merit.

The idea justifying this change is that it is “too hard” to fire federal workers. In fact, about 200,000 federal workers, about 10% of the total federal workforce, are separated each year. Of the 1000 appeals to the Merit Systems Protection Board each year, only 1% succeed.

It may be harder to fire someone than President Trump may like, but that is why we have had a Merit System. This change particularly threatens LGBTQ employees where supervisors are biased. It will be much easier to cover up bias-motivated discipline and removal.

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