The NTEU union has filed a suit against President Trump’s executive order to move policy-related career jobs into a newly created category of the excepted service, the first of what likely will be a number of moves in the courts and in Congress to block implementation.
“The president’s sweeping order fails to make a meaningful showing that shifting large numbers of federal employees into a new excepted service category so that they can be fired more quickly and without cause is necessary or supported by good administration principles. If this order is allowed to stand, it means that any president can eviscerate the carefully constructed legislative scheme Congress enacted regarding federal service employment,” the complaint says.
The order would affect an unknown but probably large number of jobs related to forming, advocating and carrying out policy, as well as positions involved with providing confidential advice to top agency officials.
An initial review of potentially affected positions is due to OPM by late January and the OPM afterward presumably would agree to move them into the newly created Schedule F of the excepted service. Those positions then could be filled without competition and employees further would generally lose their appeal rights (and union representation, if applicable), although protections against “prohibited personnel practices” would remain.
The suit says the order “provides no details, data, or explanation for why competitive service selection procedures have impeded hiring of needed federal positions” or why appeal rights should be revoked.
“The Executive Order by its terms will not just apply to employees hired in the future, but will also apply to employees who have already been hired into the competitive service or into previously existing excepted service categories. These incumbent employees accepted their jobs with the expectation that they had the civil service and due process protections attendant to their appointment. They will now be involuntarily moved to the new Schedule F and stripped of those protections,” it says.