Reorganization Plans Require Thorough Review by Congress, NTEU Says

Press Release June 27, 2018

Washington, D.C. –  The White House’s proposals for reorganizing portions of the federal government require additional information and a thorough review by Congress, the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) said today.

“Further details on the impact on the workforce and programs are needed before serious consideration can occur,” said Tony Reardon, NTEU National President, in a statement submitted to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform as it conducted a hearing on the administration document.

NTEU supports efforts to reduce government inefficiencies but previous large-scale efforts have failed in their attempts. Often, plans to reorganize are intended to increase the outsourcing of federal government functions and are pushed forward without the vital input of the frontline federal employees who serve the American people.

In 2017, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a memo advising federal agencies to consider outsourcing as part of their reorganization proposals.

“Given the OMB memo, I am concerned that this proposal would unnecessarily move government work to the private sector when federal employees have proven, time and again, that they perform the work more efficiently and effectively if they have the tools and resources to do so,” Reardon said.

Once the administration instructed agencies to formulate reorganization plans, NTEU collected suggestions from its members and submitted those to agency heads. Those ideas and suggestions were barely acknowledged by the agencies and reorganization plans were submitted to OMB without consulting with the union.

“While we held no illusions that all of our ideas would be accepted, it is important for agencies, the Administration, Congress and the public to understand that when it comes to meeting the public’s expectations for their government, frontline federal employees have much to offer,” Reardon wrote.

NTEU is concerned with the proposal to break up the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and move core policy decisions to the White House. “OPM’s independent authority over the career civil service—and employing agency human resources’ actions and decisions—must be maintained for our government not to revert to the spoils system,” Reardon said.

The proposals impact NTEU-represented employees at Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Energy and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

“Overall, we fear the potential for a real opportunity for change will be wasted, along with taxpayer dollars, subjecting federal agencies and employees to further charges of being a failed bureaucracy, when it will be one of failed leadership,” Reardon told the lawmakers.  

NTEU represents 150,000 employees at 32 federal agencies and departments.