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Lawmakers make another attempt to make it easier to fire feds

A group of Republican lawmakers this week introduced legislation that aims to “modernize” the civil service system by expediting the dismissal process of underperforming employees.

Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) is leading the effort and along with Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Chuck Grassley (R-Ia.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and reintroduced the Modern Employment Reform, Improvement and Transformation (MERIT) Act.

“Right now, it can take more than a year to fire or replace a civil service employee, even for poor performance or misconduct,” Perdue said in a statement. “With a $22 trillion debt crisis, we cannot afford to hold onto bureaucrats who aren’t doing their jobs,” he added.

The MERIT Act will streamline the termination process and shorten the amount of time required to remove underperforming employees; allow agencies to remove a senior executive for performance reasons, rather than just demote them; limit retirement benefits of employees who are removed from their position due to a felony conviction related to their official duties; and authorize agencies to recoup bonuses and awards when performance or conduct issues are discovered, among other things.

Companion legislation was introduced by Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) in the House.

Loudermilk said: “Working for the United States federal government is an honor and privilege, and most federal employees cherish this opportunity and desire to serve the American people. Unfortunately, many underperforming federal employees feel entitled to their positions and treat them as their right. The solution to this issue is the MERIT Act. I thank my friend and colleague, Senator Perdue, for leading the charge on this important reform.”

The bill was introduced before in 2018 in both the House and Senate but failed to advance.

Reader comments

Sun, Jul 14, 2019

Supervisors and HR personnel are often the most corrupt self-promoting minions that destroy the careers and reputations of hard working federal employees who are not management. It is time to remove defective management minions and allow employees to continue their hard work and dedication with out improper retaliation. The big outfit in Bethesda is so infected with inept crooked management covering each other for bonuses, bogus promotions and personnel abuse.

Tue, Jul 9, 2019

Be really careful in regards to removing employees. They might be one of your best employees but have been bullied to the extent of removal or close to it. The Bullies make all the non-thinkers believe that you’re not worthy. If this process goes through, there should be a neutral panel of people and those who personally know the individuals work ethic and character. I believe there should be a panel to adjudicate the persons removal. In addition, it should never be between HR and supervisor. To include, No retaliation for those who think otherwise. It should be a fair panel of Superiors and individuals to decide the outcome. Be smart about your decision because there could be a possible lawsuit. Especially, if your wrong about the employee.

Tue, Jul 9, 2019

No organization in the government is held to a performance standard. How can you tell an employee that he is underperforming when his manager is not held to a standard either. And by the way, that manager probably got his job via cronyism rather than qualifications to start with.

Mon, Jul 8, 2019 Hiram A biff

Perdue said in a statement. “With a $22 trillion debt crisis, we cannot afford to hold onto bureaucrats who aren’t doing their jobs,” he added. ...This, coming from the most arrogant of the Federally entitled; the "ELECTED" Federally Entitled... How about we start by getting rid of the "Elected" Federal poor performers; the politicians who seem to have forgot what the Constitution is? Seems promoting an agenda contrary to our Constitution should merit termination sans any formal investigation

Wed, Jul 3, 2019 Big Dave

Sure would be great to remove the underperforming drones at the top of the gov't gut pile, but his will be used against hard-working career federal workers to either outsource their jobs or hire in someone with no skills at a much lower paygrade. Seen it at the VA in the last year, now they want to make it gov't wide.

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