Lawmakers make another attempt to make it easier to fire feds
- By Sherkiya Wedgeworth
- Jun 20, 2019
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.