26 September 2023

UNITED STATES: Agencies rush to obey Trump’s order

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In the last few weeks of United States President, Donald Trump’s Administration, Federal Agencies, headed by Trump appointees, are racing to carry out his Executive Order that would strip career Public Servants of long-standing job protections.

The move is likely to cause chaos in some key Departments before President-elect, Joe Biden takes office on 20 January.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently sent a list of employees who could be reclassified under the Executive Order, which curtails due process and union protections enjoyed by thousands of Federal employees.

Mr Trump has long fumed about a ‘deep state’ of career Public Servants who he believes are resisting his agenda and his political appointees at various Agencies.

The changes at OMB would affect 425 career analysts, or about 88 per cent of the workforce at the office, which is responsible for formulating and implementing high-level fiscal and personnel planning.

Director of the OMB, Russell Vought (pictured) described the step as making “Washington accountable to the American people”.

Other key Agencies, like the Office of Personnel Management, are trying to reshuffle many of their thousands of employees before Mr Biden’s inauguration, a senior official told journalists.

The practical effect of these moves is unclear, as employees could sue and the Biden Administration could reverse the Order and rehire anyone who lost their jobs through it.

In addition, Senate Democrats are pushing legislation to block the Order.

More than two million people work in the Federal Government, most of them career Public Servants who follow a merit-based promotion system and are granted a lengthy appeals process before any firing decisions are made.

Washington, 1 December 2020

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