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Agencies reassure workers Trump reorganization in early stages

The Trump administration has just released a report offering the first details of a major government reorganization. Most of the proposed changes are to the Office of Personnel Management, although there could be significant shifts of programs between a variety of agencies.

In its report, the Office of Management and Budget detailed 34 reorganization ideas which follow up on an executive order President Trump signed last spring. Most of the plans would require congressional approval, however, so federal employees should be aware that the plans are far from final.

Federal News Radio obtained emails about the proposal from several agency leaders to their staffs. After promising to provide information and answer as many questions as possible, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue told employees that the changes won't happen overnight and should be viewed as the beginning of a long conversation.

"The announced proposals do not contemplate the elimination of any positions," Purdue added. "And importantly, you should know that the possible rearrangement of federal functions in no way reflects a judgment on the way you do your jobs."

The deputy OMB director for management also stressed that the reorganization is not meant to cut jobs, and several OPM leaders also reassured workers on that score.

Other agencies promised to keep in communication with their employees. The National Background and Investigations Bureau and the Defense Security Service are already in the process of transferring the entire federal security clearance program to DSS. Leaders from these agencies called the changes "an unprecedented opportunity to modernize and reform background investigations across the federal government" and promised to answer questions on an ongoing basis.

The deputy associate director for the OPM's Training and Management Assistance Program noted that no changes to its organizational structure or team members have occurred "as of today." The reorganization report envisions moving OPM's fee-for-service program HR Solutions to the General Services Administration, which would be renamed the "Government Services Agency."

Any major reorganization would be bound to create unease and confusion among government workers. As the various leaders said, however, the plans are quite preliminary and do not call for job eliminations. If you are concerned about the changes, you would probably do well to take a deep breath and wait for more information.

That said, in times of upheaval there are often incidents in which employees are criticized or even disciplined unfairly. You should proceed with an eye toward protecting your rights in case of a workplace dispute. If you believe your job could be at stake, we recommend contacting a federal employment law attorney for an assessment of your situation.

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