The latest rankings of the best places to work in government show notable drops by several agencies that were at the center of controversies late in 2020 when the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, which accounts for a large portion of the data, was conducted.

Notable decreases included two agencies heavily involved in pandemic response efforts: the CDC, which fell from 81st to 192nd among subcomponents and its parent HHS, which dropped from second to fourth among large agencies.


The OMB experienced an even steeper drop, falling from sixth place among small agencies to last among the 29 agencies in that category. Its employee engagement score fell to from 76.3 to 54.6, which “was in sharp contrast to its Capitol Hill counterpart, the Congressional Budget Office, which placed first among small agencies with a score of 92.8,” the Partnership said.

OMB last fall was at the center of a controversy over the Trump administration’s effort to create a new excepted service “Schedule F” for career positions involved with policy matters or confidential advice to senior officials. It would have stripped those employees of many of their civil service protections and ending the requirement that such positions be filled competitively.

Reportedly, some nine-tenths of OMB career employees would have fallen into that category but for the election of President Biden, who quickly revoked the initiative before any conversions took place.

Other notable drops were at the Agency for International Development, from 14th to 19th in the mid-sized agency category and Citizenship and Immigration Services at DHS, from 90th to 339th among subcomponents.

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2021 Federal Employees Handbook