…my administration has already removed more than 1,500 VA. employees who failed to give our veterans the care they deserve. —DJT
So tonight I call on Congress to empower every cabinet secretary with the authority to reward good workers and to remove federal employees who undermine the public trust, or fail the American people.–DJT
In the early 19th century, positions in the federal government were held at the pleasure of the president—a person could be fired at any time. The spoils system meant that jobs were used to support the American political parties, though this was gradually changed by the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883 and subsequent laws. By 1909, almost two-thirds of the U.S. federal workforce was appointed based on merit, that is, qualifications measured by tests. Certain senior civil service positions, including some heads of diplomatic missions and executive agencies, are filled by political appointees. Under the Hatch Act of 1939, civil servants are not allowed to engage in political activities while performing their duties.– Wikipedia
Does an incoming presidential administration need to staff the government with persons loyal to the new president? There is danger in that idea.
- Watching the PBS series on Queen Victoria, I learned that if there was a thief in the Queen’s kitchen who ccouldn’t be identified, the entire staff would be replaced.
- From Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn’s novel, The First Circle, I leaned that if the spy in the Soviet Foreign Ministry couldn’t be identified, there was a simple solution–shoot them all.
- From Ryszard Kapuscinski’s Travels with Herodotus, I learned that the Persian Shah’s retreating army might have been cut off from home at the straits and destroyed, but the local rulers, “the tyrants,” were appointed by and owed their loyalty to the Shah. Thus the opportunity was missed.
- President G. W. Bush reportedly hired many lawyers for the Justice Department Civil Rights Division from Regent University (they could be presumed to lack enthusiasm for enforcing civil rights legislation).
- President Trump in his first State of the Union Address bragged that the VA had fired more than 1,500 employees and asked Congress to give Cabinet Officers more authority to fire people.
Now President Trump may seek to fire all FBI employees or perhaps use “extreme vetting” to weed out Democrats and others who might not “have his back.” He isn’t the first tyrant to suggest such a measure.