I probably say this a lot, but it bears repeating. I am a proud civil servant (retired) who worked in different agencies during my career. This gives me insight into the workings of a variety of federal organizations across republican and democratic administrations. Since I have this perspective, I am trying very hard to be nonpartisan and objective.
This new administration is already challenging me in this regard.
It is not unusual for new administrations to invoke a federal employee hiring freeze. Such is the peril of this particular workforce.
Here’s the hiring freeze memorandum from President Trump. Initial wording:
“By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order a freeze on the hiring of Federal civilian employees to be applied across the board in the executive branch.”
Nothing really unusual here.
Even Reduction in Force (RIF’s), though infrequent, can be expected in any new administration no matter how painful this is to the federal workforce and their families.
These other issues and activities are much more troubling.
Attack on federal employee benefits has begun early and in earnest.
“President Donald Trump this week threw his support behind dramatic changes to federal employees’ retirement and health benefits, calling the current system “unsustainable.””
The Environmental Protection Agency is also under attack. Severe budget cuts under the new administration are expected. Already:
“EPA has been roiled by turmoil during its first week under Trump, as members of the transition team issued what it has described as a temporary freeze on all contract approvals and grant awards. Trump’s representatives have instituted a media blackout, clapping down on media releases, social media posts and other external communications issued by career staff.”
A media blackout is unusual and concerning. As new administrations come in, changes to media pages and communication policies are expected. Blackouts? No.
In case you don’t know what the Environmental Protection Agency really does, I think you should read this page which gives some examples of the issues they address. EPA is an important agency to all of us. See what EPA is doing in your state.
There is so much concern regarding this new administration’s actions that the “Special Counsel Issues Reminder That Agencies Cannot Gag Whistleblowers.”
“With many federal employees chafing at new Trump administration clampdowns on unauthorized communications, the Office of Special Counsel on Wednesday issued a reminder of the anti-gag order provision in the 2012 Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act.”
Stay vigilant on these and other actions of this new administration. We now have a situation where the “balance of power” that is supposed to keep our leadership in check is gone. “Through this elaborate system of safeguards, the Framers of the Constitution sought to protect the nation against tyranny.”