President Donald Trump’s administration recently asked a group of federal employees to make a choice: accept your current position in a new location 1,000 miles away or lose your job.
Who received notification?
The directed reassignment was sent to workers with the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The current administration has slotted these agencies to move to the Kansas City region.
Why the move?
The administration has stated moving the agency would result in substantial tax savings. Its projections estimate the move could save up to $300 million over a span of 15 years.
This estimate is controversial. An analysis by a separate third party organization, the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, warns the government estimate failed to take into account the impact of lost value from current employees who choose to leave the agency as a result of the move. With this in mind, the association estimates the move would likely only save a third of the government’s estimated projection.
How did the administration handle notification of the move?
Workers in these agencies received a letter from the Trump administration stating they must choose to move or be subject to “adverse action.”
Critics of the move have voiced concern it could result in brain drain within these agencies as workers may choose to remain in Washington D.C. and seek employment elsewhere. These critics are also skeptical that the agencies will be able to recruit high caliber candidates to its new location. If these concerns become reality, the move could seriously disrupt the food and agriculture sectors throughout the country.
Do federal employees in this position have options?
Yes. If terminated from employment because they refuse to move, federal employees could appeal the dismissal.