26 September 2023

UNITED STATES: ‘My red line’ Salary Chief quits

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The Chair of the Federal Salary Council has resigned over his objections to United States President, Donald Trump’s Executive Order giving the Administration more control over the firing of Public Servants deemed to be disloyal.

In his resignation letter, Ronald Sanders (pictured) said that on the surface the Executive Order purported to serve a legitimate and laudable purpose “that is, to hold career Federal employees more accountable for their performance”.

“However, it is clear that its stated purpose notwithstanding, the Executive Order is nothing more than a smokescreen for what is clearly an attempt to require the political loyalty of those who advise the President, or failing that, to enable their removal with little if any due process,” Mr Sanders said.

Mr Sanders, a lifelong Republican and human resources professional who has spent decades in different roles across the Federal Government, stated that career Federal employees “take an oath to preserve and protect our Constitution and the rule of law, not to be loyal to a particular President or Administration”.

“The Executive Order seeks to make loyalty (to the President) the litmus test for many thousands of career Civil Servants, and that is something I cannot be part of,” he said.

In a later interview Mr Sanders said the Executive Order was “one that can be abused by an Administration of any political persuasion, because it has the potential to change the social contract between many, many career Civil Servants and a political Administration”.

“To me, the Executive Order has the potential to politicise the Civil Service. That was my red line,” he said.

“I think our nation’s Civil Service is a treasure and, frankly, I think it’s the best in the world. The fact that it is apolitical is one of its great strengths, and I saw this Executive Order as at least having the potential to change all of that,” Mr Sanders said.

Washington, 1 November 2020

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