25 September 2023

UNITED STATES: Closure of PS HR office ‘reckless’

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A leading US trade unionist has described the white house’s plan to abolish the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) as “reckless, ill-conceived and potentially dangerous”.

National President of the American Federation of Government Employees, J. David Cox (pictured) said it was reckless because there had been no analysis of its costs, rationale or risks.

“It is ill-conceived because there has been no consideration of how the plan would affect the substantive work currently performed by OPM,” Mr Cox said.

“It is potentially dangerous because one of OPM’s primary responsibilities is upholding the apolitical Civil Service, an unappreciated pillar of our democracy that the Administration has repeatedly shown an interest in undermining.”

He said the Administration of President, Donald Trump had routinely questioned the political loyalties of Federal employees and complained when their work challenged its own opinions and understanding on issues such as science, law and economics.

“On a more mundane level, however, is the fact that no successful enterprise, either in the public or private sector, operates without an office focused on human resources — but success is not what this Administration is looking for when it comes to the Agencies of the Federal Government,” Mr Cox said.

“The purpose of OPM is to protect us all from the disaster that would occur if partisan political considerations factored into the hiring of career Civil Servants.”

He said the Administration’s plan was to send OPM’s policy function to the Executive Office of the President.

“Transferring the human resources policy function to the White House is an obvious move to politicise Federal employment,” Mr Cox said.

He said the importance of maintaining a nonpartisan, apolitical Civil Service in an increasingly partisan environment could not be overstated.

“We cannot allow this Administration to abolish OPM, the Agency whose primary mission is to uphold this important foundation of our democracy,” Mr Cox said.


Washington, DC, 29 April 2019

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