NFFE Endorses Legislation to Prevent Partisan Takeover of Federal Civil Service
September 12, 2022
Washington, D.C. – On Friday, the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE-IAM) sent a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives requesting that members of congress vote for the Preventing a Patronage System Act (H.R. 302) expected on the House floor this week. The bipartisan legislation aims to protect the merit system principles of the federal workforce by preventing U.S. president from requiring political loyalty from the apolitical career ranks of federal civil service. The bill was drafted in response to the establishment of Schedule F during the last presidential administration, a new classification of political employee that can be hired into permanent positions without regard to existing laws governing federal employment and accountability.
“The idea of creating an unaccountable, permanent political appointee within the career ranks of government is literally criminal,” stated NFFE Executive Director Steve Lenkart, an experienced federal chief operating officer and former Executive Director of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). “It means creating the Spoils system again. The government got rid of the Spoils system more than a century ago because it led to nothing but corruption and greed. One must be an idiot to think a return to this is a good idea.”
The bill safeguards existing statutory and constitutional systematic protections to ensure transparency and accountability within the federal government. It blocks involuntary reassignments of career employees into political positions and prevents the hiring of dark political appointees into the ranks of government undetected.
“Federal labor, executives, and professional associations all agree with political appointees from former Democratic and Republican administrations that this bill is critical to ensuring the government remains in the hands of the American people and not some political despot, even if that despot is a president,” continued Lenkart. “This bill describes an incredibly wonky policy issue that is difficult for the average American to embrace, but should the day arrive when federal workers are forced to genuflect before a corrupt system or leader, we will all endure a brutal and horrifying crippling of American democracy.”