Oct 27, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump appointee resigns over order removing job protections for some federal workers

: U.S. President Donald Trump approaches members of the press prior to a Marine One departure from the White House
Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Federal Salary Council Chair Ron Sanders resigned on Monday over President Trump’s recent executive order that strips civil service protections for some federal workers.

Why he's saying: Sanders, who was appointed by Trump in 2017, said he could no longer work for the president as “a matter of conscience.”

  • “[I]t is clear that its stated purpose notwithstanding, the executive order is nothing more than a smokescreen for what is clearly an attempt to require the political loyalty of those who advise the president, or failing that, to enable their removal with little if any due process," Sanders, a lifelong Republican, wrote in his resignation letter obtained by Politico.
  • “Career federal employees are legally and duty-bound to be nonpartisan; they take an oath to preserve and protect our Constitution and the rule of law … not to be loyal to a particular president or administration,” he added.

Context: The executive order, signed last week, requires agencies to reclassify workers involved in "positions of a confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character that are not normally subject to change as a result of a Presidential transition" to a new category — named Schedule F — by Jan. 19.

  • Those workers will be exempt from some job protections.
  • Critics argue the order, which could affect tens of thousands of workers, will make it easier for the president to hire and fire federal workers. One prominent federal union leader told the New York Times the order was "the most profound undermining of the Civil Service in our lifetimes."
  • The White House says the order expedites removal of “poor performers.”
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