By Ann Boehm, August 14, 2019
Acting Chief of Staff to the President and Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney recently spoke at a Republican Party event in South Carolina and boasted about the Administration’s clever way of getting Federal employees to quit.
He explained that by moving Department of Agriculture employees “outside this liberal haven of Washington, DC” the employees quit. This is a great thing, according to Mulvaney, because “[i]t’s really hard to drain the swamp.” He said, “it is nearly impossible to fire a federal worker.” And, he clearly believes getting Federal employees to quit benefits the country. To quote the Church Lady, “Well, isn’t that special?”
Folks, Mr. Mulvaney is on swampy, not solid, ground. Here are three reasons why.
DC Federal employees are not the part of the swamp that needs draining (um, that would be Congress). I come from a distinguished line of DC swamp dwellers. My father, sister, and I all retired from the swamp. My husband is a current swamp dweller. I promise you the American taxpayer has gotten plenty of value from their tax dollars with us.
Also, I’ve worked with many, many amazing DC swamp dwellers. Interestingly, they are not all liberal. Fox News was often the channel of choice in the office gym.
But that doesn’t even matter. Most of the Federal employees with whom I have worked in the DC area are hardworking, committed, talented employees. There’s no reason to want them to quit. They should be praised.
Federal employees don’t work only in DC. I have been a FELTG instructor since November of 2018. During that time, I have spoken to outstanding managers, supervisors, attorneys, human resources specialists, and employees in 17 different states, including Alaska and Hawaii. These folks protect our national parks, our national defense, our water rights, Federal lands, public health – so many things that most Americans either take for granted or don’t even realize. Apparently Mr. Mulvaney is unaware.
You can fire Federal employees. There are some bad Federal employees, and they are like bad apples. They can spoil the whole bunch. But here’s the truth: They can be fired for performance or misconduct. There’s a process but, as we teach and write about repeatedly, you can handle problem employees. In fact, you must handle problem employees.
Federal employees, hold your head high. Do your public service. Prove Mr. Mulvaney wrong and get rid of the bad employees — and cheer on the good ones, even in swampy DC! And keep up the good work! Boehm@FELTG.com