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Civil Servant Firing Policy Changes

President Trump recently signed an Executive Order that involves the process of firing “poor performing” civil servants. Additionally, the order limits funding power from the federal unions that were protections. Specifically three taskings associated with the orders are in place; these include: timing on poor performing civil servants and how long they have to correct behavior before being fired; the order also makes it hard for fired workers to move to another agency. Next, a Labor Relations Working group was created that will scrutinize government contracts with unions and omit any wasteful expenditures in the language. Finally, the third tasking restricts federal employee time limits on work for the union; it charges federal unions for space rented in buildings and stops their ability to utilize government travel reimbursements; this task also stops payments to unions related to Congress lobbying time.



During his Presidential campaign, Trump asked for a leaner, more efficient federal government “Tonight, I call on the Congress to empower every cabinet secretary with the authority to reward good workers and to remove federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people,” he said. This effort is in line with this new charge and is part of a broader effort to modernize the government, innovate, and eliminate bureaucracy. The finished product, therefore, would be a more mobile, lean, technically-savvy, workforce.

The focus of these changes promote efficiencies by increasing taxpayer dollar usage while supporting consistent, performing civil servants. Additionally the order makes it easier to remove poor performing employees and enables agencies to ensure taxpayer dollars are utilized more efficiently. Although there is pushback from many on this development, it is estimated that there will be a savings of at least $100 million a year for taxpayers. The President is also focusing on hiring the best and most ambitious employees with the largest overhaul of the civil service system in over 40 years. Modeled after the VA Accountability Act, this effort will offer greater authority to fire and/or discipline employees; for example, the VA dismissed 1470 employees, suspended 443 and demoted 83 with the use of this new authority.

Overall, changes were needed due to accountability; many public reports show that it takes close to 370 days on average to actually dismiss an employee in a federal government position. Between all of the discussions, performance observations, counseling, monitoring, preparation and follow up – yes, it can take that long. Additionally, employees have the right to appeal which adds even more time to the process.

Some federal employees (managers) also feel that this reform is long overdue; as they have chosen to ‘opt’ out of such opportunities that include these responsibilities given the lack of accountability. This new order will initiate actions and perimeters that can be set in place and mandated as policy. Managers and employees will have a greater set of expectations and understanding with these new directives; organizations can work to increase communication, information sharing and also utilize coaching and mentoring. Some private sector employees have routinely voiced their opinions in comparing private sector (firing) with that of the federal government; these changes make for a more balanced approach with one another….at least for now.




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About The Author

Dr. Donna Day is a Manager at the Department of Defense, where she has been for more than 30 years. With a background in Information Assurance, Customer Engagement and Marketing, more recently she has been studying Cyber security Policy and Management at the University of Maryland, University College (UMUC). She earned her Doctor of Management, Master of Business Administration, and Master of Science Degree in Technology Management at UMUC and received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing at the University of Baltimore. Dr. Day is also an Adjunct Professor at Norwich University in Vermont, where she teaches Cyber security, Critical Infrastructure and Information Assurance courses to a myriad of students, worldwide, from across the intelligence community. A published author, Baltimore Ravens fan, and life-long learner, she enjoys writing, traveling, cooking, and most importantly, spending time with her family and friends.