Continuing where he left off, here is Part IV of Vassar Bushmills’ War Gaming essay series. See bottom of post for links to Parts I – III.
Of all the inside-enemies Donald Trump has, the bureaucracy is the one he knows best, for he has been butting heads with it for well over forty years.
Therefore, he’s saved me a thousand words in telling you what he can do or should do, because, for the most part, he’s already doing it.
He’s getting rid of all the appointed ranks, and will be reviewing much of the “excepted services”, a term you may be aware of, but in which the Civil Service competitive rules do not apply. A list of them can be found here.
And yes, almost all of the intelligence agencies, and State Department, are excepted service, meaning they can all be hired by separate rules and many are hired based on “recommendations” from White House and other high officials. So, President Trump and his agency heads should already have a list of who the appointed bureaucrats are. He can order them removed at will, as they cannot find recourse in the Civil Service Commission rules.
But we already know the damage that even temporary hold-overs can cause, such as Sally Yates, an Obama appointee in the DOJ, who was acting-Attorney General for just a few days, because Senate Dems drug out the appointment of Jeff Sessions to Attorney General.
President Trump also knew to dig a couple of levels deeper into the civil service ranks at various agencies, deeper than George W Bush, bless his little turn-the-other-cheek heart, ever considered. The damage Clinton holdovers have done, over 20 years worth of damage, have been incalculable, and I hope Trump’s new appointees have a list of those holdovers based on date-of-service and are implementing plans to mitigating their damage in the future, since most cannot be fired.
What Trump understands that most Republicans in the political class never realized is that if Christ sits on the right hand of God, the Bureaucracy sits on the right hand of Satan. Even in the private sector. (Many Fortune 500 companies have died at its hand over the years, only, after it’s merged and reorganized, or sold, or filed Chapter 11, the death certificate only reads: COD: UNKNOWN.) This is why the Democratic Left can use the bureaucracy in ways no good-natured aw-shucks Republicans can imagine, or is willing to see, even if it’s shown to them face-to-face. It’s one (of a few) things they know every well.
Now, in the early 70s I had some experience in representing military commanders in trying to get rid of senior (GS-13/14) level civilian managers, one for insubordination (refusal to obey a direct order). With only two years to retirement, he arrogantly taunted the CG and used his union to drag out his case for months through administrative hearings. Just a 30-year old captain, I really didn’t like this guy, and was less than blunt. I wanted to squish him like a bug, but the CO chose to save the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of dollars, by simply stripping him of his desk/office and access to files, and let him play golf those last twenty months. I suggested the CG change his job description and give him a bucket and broom-handle with a nail in the end and have him going around picking up trash, which I argued the CG could do. A nice sight, a $57,000/yr (1976 rates) professional picking up trash could have had a deterrent effect on other civilian employees. But of course the CG was wiser than me. After all, I wasn’t much younger than the #NeverTrump cabalists, and we all know how they turned out.
Since there was a major overhaul of the Civil Service in 1978, I can’t say what specific arrows the president or agency head has in their quiver today. But again, I know that President Trump is looking for any and all. I do know that firing career bureaucrats without cause will not be one of those arrows, and attempting to fire them, with cause, will be expensive[…]
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