The Biden administration’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is ready to implement an executive order that rescinds former President Trump’s May 2018 executive order that would ease the discipline and firing of federal workers.
“President Trump issued three executive orders on May 25, 2018, aimed at improving efficiency and accountability within the federal civil service. Executive Order 13839, titled ‘Promoting Accountability and Streamlining Removal Procedures Consistent with Merit System Principles,’ sought to advance agency supervisors’ ability to support accountability within the federal civil service while protecting the procedural rights of federal employees,” Ballotpedia notes, adding, “The order proposed several principles, management tactics, and reporting procedures for agency supervisors to incorporate in order to address issues of employee accountability.”
Trump’s OPM released the following statement: “By answering repeated calls from the American public and dedicated civil servants across the country, this EO will allow more direct accountability for chronically poor performing employees. Federal Employment Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) results have consistently shown federal employees believe poor performers are not held accountable. Streamlining dismissal procedures will create greater accountability as the government serves the American taxpayer.”
But within days of his inauguration, President Biden revoked all three of Trump’s executive orders.
“In regulations scheduled to be published in the Federal Register Tuesday, OPM moved to implement Biden’s order, reversing the actions taken in 2020,” Government Executive reports. The regulations state:
After consideration and review, OPM has concluded that portions of the final rule which became effective on November 16, 2020, and which implemented certain requirements of [Executive Order] 13839, are inconsistent with the current policy of the United States to protect, empower and rebuild the career federal workforce as well as its current policy to encourage employee organizing and collective bargaining.
“Due to continued objections raised since the publication of the Nov. 16, 2020, final rule, OPM believes that the prohibition of clean record agreements hampers agencies’ ability to resolve informal and formal complaints at an early stage and with minimal costs to the agency,” the regulations continue. “Notably, stakeholders have stressed that the prohibition of clean record agreements limits resolution options; reduces the likelihood of parties reaching a mutually agreeable resolution of informal or formal complaints; potentially increases costly litigation and arbitration; and crowds the dockets of third-party investigators, mediators and adjudicators such as the Merit Systems Protection Board, Office of Special Counsel, and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.”
Jazz Shaw of HotAir commented, “Just to be clear about what’s actually being proposed here, we are talking about federal workers who are found to be so incompetent at their jobs that they have been identified as needing to be replaced. In other cases, these rules would be applied to those found guilty of criminal activity. These changes would make it once again ridiculously difficult to terminate their employment.” He added that one reason Biden wants to roll back Trump’s policy is “the labor unions representing federal workers are still very powerful and they donate a lot of money to Democrats. They don’t like seeing their members terminated …”