While President Trump can't shrink the size of government without Congress, he can shrink the size of the federal workforce, and he has, dramatically.
After one year in office, the Treasury Department has 7.5% fewer employees. The Department of Education (which doesn't educate a single child) is 4.8% smaller. The Department of Labor (without a single laborer) is down 4.6%. The Department of State, which must do something, but I can't figure out what, has 3.8% fewer employees. Commerce and HUD are each down 3%.
Even though President Trump has not fired anyone, he has left many open jobs unfilled and has subtly encouraged existing employees to, how shall I put it, grow in other directions.
The administration's effort so far to reshape the workforce of nearly 2 million civil servants that serves as the backbone of the government already has provoked a contentious culture shift.
Federal workers fret that their jobs could be zeroed out amid buyouts and early retirement offers that already have prompted hundreds of their colleagues to leave, according to interviews with three dozen employees across the government. Many chafed as supervisors laid down new rules they said are aimed at holding poor performers and problem workers to account.
Agencies have told employees that they should no longer count on getting glowing reviews in their performance appraisals, according to staff in multiple offices, as has been the case for years.
"Morale has never been lower," said Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents 150,000 federal workers at more than 30 agencies. "Government is making itself a lot less attractive as an employer."
The government is evaluating people based on performance? There are no more automatic good reviews? No wonder everyone is so unhappy!
Telework – a popular Obama-era policy that expanded work from home – has come under scrutiny as Trump officials have questioned whether it is a license to goof off. The Agriculture and Commerce [D]epartments are now moving to restrict the flexible work policy[.]
Look at this guy:
His name is Noah Kunin. He looks almost exactly like Pajama Boy...with a beard.
See if you can figure out what Pajama Boy does for the government:
Noah Kunin[ is] the former infrastructure director for 18F, the high-profile office created in the General Services Administration in 2014 to boost the government's digital services.
18F? Boosting digital services? If you can't figure out what he's doing from his job title, it can't be very profound.
Kunin said he lost staff who did not want to work for the new administration – and then was unable to replace them because of the early hiring freeze. He said he grew frustrated with what he called a slow start by the White House on bringing private-sector solutions to the government.
"I was involved in several major initiatives, and they were all stalled," he recalled.
Kunin's "initiates" were stalled. Whatever they were! So he quit. How sad!
The small Merit Systems Protection Board, which considers appeals from federal employees who believe they were unfairly fired or demoted, has not heard a case in 11 months.
One of Obama's appointees to the three-member board left in January, leaving two vacancies. Trump has yet to nominate anyone to the panel. With no quorum, the lone board member, Republican Mark Robbins, cannot take action on a backlog of more than 700 cases dating to early 2015.
Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), an advocate for modernizing federal technology systems, said that eight of 24 agencies are without chief information officers.
Do you feel the government doesn't have enough "chief information officers"?
Even the most conservative, Trump-supporting government employees hate Trump for it! (So we are led to believe.)
At Veterans Affairs, John Fuller wrestled with leaving for months. A retired Army major, he's a lifelong Republican who voted for Trump. He has played a pioneering role in the federal government as VA's chief race relations and culture educator, traveling the country to meet with employees in small groups to heal racial divisions.
"I have so much passion for the job left," the 65-year-old said in early December. But Fuller said he was told his travel budget would be shifted to other priorities. Days before Christmas. Fuller put in his retirement papers.
Oh, no! Evil Trump wouldn't let Fuller jet around the country to do some racial thought-policing!
Questions for discussion:
1) Can the government operate effectively without an infrastructure director for Department 18F?
2) Is Noah Kunin in fact Pajama Boy?
3) Do you think most government employees who "heal racial divisions" in the government are hard-right Republican Trump voters?
4) What do you think these frustrated bureaucrats' tears taste like?
Ed Straker is the senior writer at Newsmachete.com.
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