Office of Personnel Management continues implementation of Trump’s civil service executive orders

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The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on December 17 issued a proposed rule aimed at continuing the implementation of President Donald Trump’s (R) 2018 civil service executive orders. 

The proposed rule prioritizes federal employee performance over length of service in decisions concerning a reduction in force—a principle set forth in Executive Order 13839, “Promoting Accountability and Streamlining Removal Procedures Consistent with Merit Systems and Principles.” 

E.O 13839 is one of three executive orders issued by President Trump on May 25, 2018, aimed at improving efficiency and accountability within the federal civil service. E.O. 13839 seeks to advance agency supervisors’ ability to support accountability within the federal civil service while protecting the procedural rights of federal employees. The order proposed several principles, management tactics, and reporting procedures for agency supervisors to incorporate in order to address issues of employee accountability.

The proposed rule is the latest in OPM’s attempts to implement the civil service executive orders. OPM previously implemented provisions of the executive orders in September 2019 and October 2020. 

Supporters of E.O. 13839 have argued that the order will improve the federal civil service by allowing agency supervisors to more efficiently address poor performance and misconduct in the workforce. Opponents of the order, including federal employee labor unions, have argued that the management changes are unnecessary and might fail to bring about the stated goal of improved employee performance.

The proposed rule is open to public comment for 30 days.

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