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ICYMI: New Trump Civil Service Reforms to Increase Accountability in Federal Workforce

May 30, 2018 by Akash Chougule

Last week, President Donald Trump signed three bold executive orders that will improve accountability, transparency and effectiveness within the federal workforce.

President Trump’s reforms will:

  • Reduce government waste by limiting the time federal employees spend on taxpayer-funded union activities.
  • Require federal agencies to negotiate union contracts in a more efficient and transparent way.
  • Increase accountability in the federal workforce by strengthening the merit system, which rewards good public servants while making it easier to fire poor performers.

Restricting taxpayer-funded time spent on union activities:

A report from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management found that in FY 2016, federal employees spent more than 3.6 million work hours on union business. That came at a cost to taxpayers of nearly $175 million.

The Social Security Administration estimates it could complete 135,000 more retirement applications and process 17,000 more disability determinations if federal workers cut back on union activities on the job.

The new executive order will put the American people first by requiring federal employees to spend at least 75 percent of their time doing the jobs they were hired to do.

The new policy will increase accountability, transparency and productivity while ensuring government workers spend most of their time working for the American people.

Improving efficiency and transparency in union contracts:

In 2016, salaries for union negotiators cost taxpayers $16 million.

This executive order saves taxpayers money by establishing a federal labor relations group to ensure federal agencies to negotiate better contracts with unions. This will help keep costs low for taxpayers while increasing performance and accountability among federal workers.

This order also increases transparency by requiring union contracts to be published in a public online database.

Strengthening accountability measures for government workers:

In the past, it was notoriously difficult to fire poor performers in the federal workforce. The process to remove a federal employee required a minimum of 170 days and could take a year or longer.

The new policy will encourage agencies to prioritize performance over seniority when considering cuts to the federal workforce.

Federal agencies will now be required to report instances of poor performers to the Office of Personnel Management, making it easier to hold bad employees accountable to the American people.

It’s been nearly 40 years since the last civil service overhaul.

The Trump administration deserves credit for making long-overdue changes to increase accountability and effectiveness in the federal workforce.

Congress and the administration should continue working to enact even more bold measures that streamline the federal government and hold federal workers accountable to the American people who write their paychecks.