Trump’s salaries adviser quits over politicising order

By on 27/10/2020
Here be monsters: the president, pictured at a Halloween celebration, is accused of requiring the personal loyalty of federal officials. Credit: Official White House Photo/Andrea Hanks

The lifelong Republican appointed by Donald Trump to oversee federal civil service salaries has quit his post in protest at the US president’s new executive order that could remove employment protection rights for tens of thousands of federal employees.

In a resignation letter obtained by Politico, Federal Salary Council Chair Ron Sanders wrote that the order is an attempt “to replace apolitical expertise with political obeisance” and “make loyalty to him [Trump] the litmus test for many thousands of career civil servants”.

Sanders added that the order is “nothing than a smokescreen for what is clearly an attempt to require the political loyalty of those who advise the President, or failing that, to enable their removal with little if any due process.”

Noting that the US Constitution expects career civil servants to serve only “the public, and the laws that their elected representatives enact”, he wrote that “no President should be able to remove career civil servants whose only sin is that they may speak such a truth to him.”

No chicken

Sanders, who was appointed by Trump in 2017, has been responsible for advising the administration on civil service pay settlements.

His resignation follows Trump’s order, issued last week, which requires agencies to apply a new ‘Schedule F’ status to all civil servants involved in confidential or policy work. This would strip them of employment rights which protect appointment on merit and prevent their dismissal without proper process.

Detailed in a GGF article published on Monday, the reforms were called “the most profound undermining of the civil service in our lifetimes” by American Federation of Government Employees national president Everett Kelley.

About Matt Ross

Matt is a journalist and editor specialising in public sector management, policymaking and service delivery. He was the editor of Civil Service World 2008-14, serving an audience of senior UK officials; and the features editor of Regeneration & Renewal 2002-08, covering urban regeneration, economic growth and community development. He has also been a motoring and travel journalist, and now combines his role as editorial director of Global Government Forum with communications consultancy, marketing and journalism work for publishers, public sector unions and private sector suppliers to government.

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