USDA: Relocations caused significant workforce damage
- By FederalSoup Staff
- Feb 02, 2021
The Department of Agriculture is a critical piece of the federal government—with over 100,000 employees, and a deep bench of experts whose work has national and international impact.
Like most federal agencies, USDA and just about all of its components are headquartered in the nation’s capital. But—professing aims of saving money, decentralizing the government and other alleged improvements—the last administration relocated two key units 1,000 miles west to Kansas City. Over the last couple of years USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and its Economic Research Service made the long and arduous sojourn.
Now, a news report from National Public Radio tallies up some of the substantial workforce dysfunction—harms broadly predicted by employee unions and personnel experts—that the move inflicted, both in terms of employees who quit or retired early and morale among the remaining workforce.
For example, large numbers of feds have separated from the agencies in direct reaction to the forced move, according to sources quoted in the piece.
Employee departures have been joined by plummeting morale among those who remain, resulting in a massive drop in productivity as evidenced by shrinking numbers of research reports produced in recent years—as well as other troubling landmarks cited by the report’s authors. The report also contains some recommendations on how the incoming administration might ameliorate and even reverse some of the damage.