TagExecutive Order

Office of Personnel Management implements Trump administration order regarding poor-performing federal employees

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on Friday issued final rules that revise federal agency methods for addressing poor-performing employees in the civil service. The rules implement President Donald Trump’s (R) Executive Order 13839, which aims to streamline the discipline and dismissal processes for poor-performing federal employees.

The regulations implement the following changes to agency management practices:

  • Reduce the time for employees to improve their performance, allowing agencies to more quickly initiate disciplinary actions against employees deemed poor-performing. 
  • Reduce the time period for employees to respond to allegations of poor performance.
  • Reiterate that agencies are not obligated to help employees improve. 
  • Prohibit agencies from entering into settlement agreements that modify an employee’s personnel record. 
  • Mandate that agencies remind supervisors of expiring employee probationary periods. 
  • Establish procedures for agencies to discipline supervisors who retaliate against whistleblowers.

President Trump issued three executive orders on May 25, 2018, aimed at improving efficiency and accountability within the federal civil service. E.O. 13839, titled “Promoting Accountability and Streamlining Removal Procedures Consistent with Merit System Principles,” 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. OPM’s final regulations aim to fully implement the order.

Supporters of E.O. 13839 have claimed 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 have argued that the management changes are unnecessary and will fail to bring about the stated goal of improved employee performance.

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Ballotpedia study shows that 29 state APAs require administrative agencies to conduct a cost-benefit analysis before implementing rules

A Ballotpedia study of all 50 state constitutions and administrative procedure acts (APAs) showed that 29 state APAs require administrative agencies to conduct a cost-benefit analysis before implementing rules, as of September 2020.

Cost-benefit analysis is an aspect of agency dynamics, one of the five pillars key to understanding the main areas of debate about the nature and scope of the administrative state. Cost-benefit analysis requires administrative agencies to consider whether the potential costs of a new rule will outweigh its benefits.

Since President Ronald Reagan issued Executive Order 12291 in 1981, federal administrative agencies have conducted cost-benefit analyses for any new major rules. President Bill Clinton refined cost-benefit analysis requirements in Executive Order 12866 in 1993 and Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump have maintained cost-benefit analysis requirements in their own executive orders.

Ballotpedia’s study of state agency cost-benefit analysis standards concluded a variety of results.

Many states require administrative agencies to perform a cost-benefit analysis before making or changing any rules or regulations. Thus, Ballotpedia concluded that those states *require cost-benefit analysis*.

Some states require administrative agencies to perform the cost-benefit analysis only in certain circumstances. For instance, Illinois only requires such analysis if a proposed rule may have an impact on small businesses, nonprofit corporations, or small municipalities. Thus, Ballotpedia concluded that those states *conditionally require cost-benefit analysis*.

Some states require administrative agencies to perform a limited cost-benefit analysis before making rules. For instance, Alaska requires agencies to estimate annual costs for the state agency to implement the new rule. Thus, Ballotpedia concluded that those states require *limited cost-benefit analysis*.

Some states do not require administrative agencies to perform a cost-benefit analysis before making or changing any rules or regulations. Thus, Ballotpedia concluded that those states *do not require cost-benefit analysis*.

To learn more about Ballotpedia’s survey related to agency dynamics, see here:
Agency dynamics: States that require administrative agencies to conduct a cost-benefit analysis before implementing rules

Want to go further? Learn more about the five pillars of the administrative state here: Administrative state

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Federal Register weekly update: Highest weekly document total since June

The Federal Register is a daily journal of federal government activity that includes presidential documents, proposed and final rules, and public notices. It is a common measure of an administration’s regulatory activity.

From October 5 to October 9, the Federal Register grew by 1,836 pages for a year-to-date total of 64,374 pages. Over the same period in 2019 and 2018, the Federal Register reached 55,016 pages and 51,814 pages, respectively. As of October 9, the 2020 total led the 2019 total by 9,358 pages and the 2018 total by 12,560 pages.

The Federal Register hit an all-time high of 95,894 pages in 2016.

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 612 documents:

• 465 notices
• 16 presidential documents
• 40 proposed rules
• 91 final rules

Two final rules related to railroad track safety standards and textile fiber products identification as well as two proposed rules concerning the practices of market agencies in the business of receiving lambs and the registration of medical services agencies that handle controlled substances were deemed significant under E.O. 12866—meaning that they could have large impacts on the economy, environment, public health, or state or local governments. Significant actions may also conflict with presidential priorities or other agency rules. The Trump administration in 2020 has issued 27 significant proposed rules, 58 significant final rules, and one significant notice as of October 9.

Not all rules issued by the Trump administration are regulatory actions. Some rules are deregulatory actions pursuant to President Trump’s (R) Executive Order 13771, which requires federal agencies to eliminate two old significant regulations for each new significant regulation issued.

Ballotpedia maintains page counts and other information about the Federal Register as part of its Administrative State Project. The project is a neutral, nonpartisan encyclopedic resource that defines and analyzes the administrative state, including its philosophical origins, legal and judicial precedents, and scholarly examinations of its consequences. The project also monitors and reports on measures of federal government activity.

Click here to find more information about weekly additions to the Federal Register in 2019, 2018, and 2017: Changes_to_the_Federal_Register

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Click here to find yearly information about additions to the Federal Register from 1936 to 2018: Historical_additions_to_the_Federal_Register,_1936-2018



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