Lawmaker questions SES reassignments at Interior Dept.
- By FederalSoup Staff
- Oct 16, 2017
A ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is requesting an investigation into the reassignments of senior executives at the Interior Department.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) has sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke asking for documents related to new positions for about 50 Senior Executive Service employees earlier this year.
According to Cummings, the reassignments raise concern about retaliation and wasteful spending at the department.
“Over the past several months, you have reportedly threatened to use personnel reassignments to move individuals who are disloyal to the Trump administration, and to shrink the department’s workforce,” Cummings wrote in the letter to Zinke, noting a comment Zinke had made publically about dealing with a disloyal workforce.
Shortly before the comments were made, Zinke reassigned the roughly 50 SES members.
“The use of personnel reassignments to punish employees you believe are not 'loyal' or try to drive employees to leave the department could constitute prohibited personnel practices that violate merit systems protections…” the letter continued.
Cummings noted one SES member, Joel Clement, a whistleblower who alleged retaliation after he was transferred to a new position when he spoke out about climate change.
"The reassignment of Mr. Clement and other department employees raise serious concerns about whether they are being retaliated against in violation of the law and whether the department is using taxpayer funds to carry out its mission appropriately,” the letter states. Clement later resigned from the agency.
Read the letter here.