President Trump's 2019 budget proposal included a pay freeze for federal workers during the federal fiscal year and slow the pace of step increases. It also documented the administration's intention to rely on "pay for performance" to determine federal workers' salaries rather than the current tenure-based step increase system. At a recent House Appropriations Committee hearing, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney defended the proposed changes.
"Currently, executive branch agencies are unable to investigate and process personnel security clearances in a timely manner," says the Government Accountability Office, which has added the federal security clearance process to its High Risk List. The list was created by the nonpartisan watchdog agency in 1990 in an effort to emphasize areas in serious need of reform or improvement to avoid waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement.
If you try to look up the word "distrumption" in the dictionary, you won't find it. That's one of the interesting things about language. It can change with the times, and right now, we think it might be argued that distrumption seems to express what is being felt throughout the federal government and its workforce. That is not a statement about the rightness or wrongness of what's happening – merely an observation of current conditions.
When employees are concerned that their working conditions may not be legal, they're often wise to discuss those concerns with a third-party lawyer. Someone who is uninvolved but with knowledge of labor and employment law can be very helpful in determining if the concerns are valid and what steps to take next.
In the labor relations model that has developed in the United States, the perception that dominates is that it is adversarial. Workers are on one side leveraging the strength of their numbers to press demands for better wages and conditions. On the other side is business, looking to maintain its wealth.
A lot can change in a short period of time. As we noted in a post in October, it appeared that employees for federal contractors were headed for some improvements in benefits under orders and rules issued by the Labor Department under President Obama.
The federal government puts a lot of stock in the notion of candor. Failing to be forthcoming when asked questions during an investigation could lead to disciplinary action. As we noted in a post two years back, a charge of "lack of candor" proved to be a career ender for an administrative officer at the Federal Aviation Administration.
Making and enforcing policy in any organization is a tough job. Federal workers tasked with such work face the additional hurdle of having to try to accomplish it under the shadow of competing political ideologies and oversight.
Attorneys with deep experience dealing with the complicated systems of federal employment know that it's no bed of roses. Government workers in Texas or any other state face a veritable quagmire of procedural steps when management initiates action based on allegations of misconduct or underperformance.
The headline a few days ago was eye-catching. "Obama Just Guaranteed Sick Days For More Than A Million Workers." Some pundits now wonder if this could be the first step toward a major shift toward extending the reach of laws protecting federal workers in Texas and elsewhere to the whole economy. Time will answer the question. What we know is that the new rule comes over the objections of business lobbyists.