The Interior Department has released the specifics of its plan to consolidate 49 regional offices of eight sub-agencies into 12 standard regions and move some employees out of the national capital area—meanwhile appointing high-level “field assistants” and regional “field committees” to carry it out.
“Our new organization reduces bureaucratic redundancy, improves communication between our experts in the field and leaders in Washington, D.C. and allows us to share our knowledge and resources more effectively among the department’s field staff and local collaborators,” said an email to employees.
That largely mirrors the justification the Agriculture Department put forward in support of its plan to move most of two subagencies out of the capital area to the Kansas City area.
However, OMB director/acting White House chief of staff largely undercut that argument in recent comments characterizing the main benefit of the USDA reorganization as that two-thirds of affected employees have said they will resign or retire rather than relocate.
Like several other administration agency reorganization plans, the initiative at Interior was controversial even before the most recent announcement, with a language already pending in Congress to block it. That will be among the issues to be decided in upcoming measures on agency spending to be considered starting in early September.