Enough is Enough
For approximately two years, the federal workforce, much like the rest of the country, watched the unfolding of a national disaster in slow motion. It was the latest reality TV show we all thought would never last. But it did. Let’s be honest, we all knew where this was heading and here we are pretending to wonder how we got here (yes we understand he lost the popular vote by over three million votes and Russian trolls helped him win the 70,000 needed key votes in specific electoral areas). Regardless, without equivocation, we have a proven pathological liar and embarrassment as a president who admits “making up facts” in meetings with world leaders. A Trump spokesperson who offers “alternative facts” if the real facts do not fit the president’s cartoonish view of the world. A White House spokesperson who admits Trump“ won at arbitration” against a porn star but has no connection to the same porn star. An Attorney General with amnesia who refuses to answer questions asked by Congress. We have a proven adulterer as a president who appears to have broken campaign financing laws paying off porn stars just days before the election and is seemingly worried about paternity issues, provably using his own attorney and Trump Organization resources. A president whose lawyers need their own lawyers who then need their own lawyers. Trump campaign officials pleading guilty to felonies and now admitting they were acting as “foreign agents”. We have a president who bullies people through tweets and obfuscates the facts, hoping to continue exploiting the ignorance of his supporters who follow him not on the basis of critical thought or selection, but more so on the basis of religious faith in the same way Reverend Jim Jones and David Koresh followers blindly walked into the jungle or the Davidian compound. And, we have a president under the most serious investigation in the history of our country with a potential outcome that could fracture the very bedrock upon which this country is based and even affect the entire world. This investigation has thus far produced enough publicly available information to call into question not only his competence and mental fitness but also his motives and intent as well of those surrounding him. And, this is only a partial accounting since President Trump manages to produce a crisis or two a day to the point most of us are numb Yet here we are.
The operational stability, morale, and efficiency of the federal workforce is not immune from the effects of the broad incompetence and questionable motives of this president and the people with whom he surrounds himself or appoints to lead federal agencies that service and protect the American people. We have corrupt cabinet secretaries who spend $31,000 of taxpayer funds on dining room furniture, deny they knew about it, only for us to find out they lied about knowing. Another cabinet secretary who spent over $111,000 of taxpayer funds on a European family vacation in connection with the falsification of an official travel authorization request. Yet another cabinet secretary who jaunts around on a taxpayer-subsidized private plane chasing a solar eclipse with his wife (you know, the hot actress from the movie “Cabin Fever”). Let’s not forget the cabinet secretary who chartered private helicopter flights in excess of $14,000 to ferry him around Washington D.C., and out to his horse farm so he could horseback ride. We even have a cabinet secretary (education) who literally knows nothing about education but has financial ties to companies that will benefit from her unilateral non-fact based policy decisions and was a major donor to the Trump campaign. And, this is only a partial list. Federal employees functionally now work in a criminal enterprise where The President is the head of the enterprise in the same way a “Boss” or “Consigliere” heads a Mafia or Russian crime family. Cabinet secretaries function as Underbosses (mafia organizational references) and are not appointed based on their capacity for the position, but their loyalty to the “Boss” and willingness to be publicly ridiculed for continued acceptance (and earning) in “The Family”. The cabinet secretaries, or Underbosses, are in the process of picking their “Capo’s” in each agency who hold loyalty not to the Constitution, agency, or taxpayer, but to the “Underboss” (cabinet secretary) and “Boss” (Trump). The “Capo’s” will then pick their “Soldiers” out in the field at the local level of government operations based on the same standards they were chosen, absolute loyalty to Trump and them. Finally, these “Soldiers” will oversee the “Associates” in the organization, otherwise known as the federal workforce. I would not be surprised if there is some type of pin-pricking blood ceremony in some candlelit basement room of the White House where they take a different oath than that which federal employees are required to take; a dark oath if you will. They all have clearly demonstrated their intent on driving federal agencies into the ground and plundering the resources from these agencies; whether firing hundreds of government scientists who study global warming or firing dozens of government meteorologists who report the resulting storms. All, just because Trump does not know anything about science because there is no reality television show for science.
At the bottom of the organizational structure forming this evolving criminal enterprise, you have the entirety of the federal workforce. It’s clear the president and cabinet secretaries view the federal workforce as “Associates” in their organization. This view was made clear when the president floated having federal employees sign non-disclosure agreements, just like his porn star mistress(es). It is as if Trump has no concept of the role of the federal government or its workforce, never mind an understanding of the spoils system that was outlawed in favor of the merit system. We should have known this when he was unable to articulate to a reporter how a Bill becomes a law or the distinct role of the individual branches of government in relation to each other. These are things my eleven-year-old daughter can confidently explain.
Based on our professional opinion, the chaos, incompetence, and questionable motives and intent of the Trump administration are affecting the operational level of the federal workforce. Eventually, and likely already, taxpayers will be directly affected and not in a good way. Approximately a year ago via Twitter, we predicted this eventuality. Now, we hear increasing anecdotal evidence from direct sources on a regular basis, and some evidence arguably empirical in nature. Most notable at the current time is the Department of Veterans Affairs, which has a Secretary in a state of chaos and conspiracy, locked behind an office door with armed guards on the belief a mutiny is underway. The headquarters staff is in a state of disarray and major projects such as retirement servicing and Human Resources consolidation and Veterans ID cards are on hold, placing the status of affected current employees in question as well as the continued servicing of federal employees concerning critical benefits such as retirement. Aside from affecting Veterans, there are national security implications as well. Recently, a Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement top spokesperson resigned essentially saying he was being forced to lie to the American public. U.S. Border Patrol agents are reportedly being told to not speak out publicly against the border wall project, even in their private capacity even though many, if not most, believe the wall is a bad idea. In a significant reversal of previous positions, even the union representing Border Patrol Agents appears to either have been threatened or bought off as they now endorse a border wall they once opposed ardently based on lack of need and physical safety of agents. Frontline federal employees are already affected.
The morale of federal employees is also being negatively affected by a president who could not even himself pass a suitability examination or background check that all federal employees must pass prior to gaining employment. Did you even know the president does not go through a suitability or background check and clearly not a psychological examination? This same president proposed an indefinite pay freeze for all federal employees beginning 2019 as well as significant rollbacks in benefits while increasing employee contributions for those same benefits being reduced (pay more for less). Trump’s proposal to cut the pay and benefits of federal employees is so draconian and backwards, even some Republicans are opposed to his position. Ironically, the federal workforce collectively has a penchant for siding with presidential candidates significantly opposing their own personal interests concerning pay, benefits, conditions of employment, and federal services they themselves may receive such as Social Security (in retirement) and Thrift Savings Plan contributions. However, recent polling suggests this self-destructive trend may be reversing among the federal workforce. The previous projections that federal employees may leave the workforce in response to Trump may actually be coming to fruition. Human Resources staffing experts have told us vacancies for occupations in the professional series often require multiple announcements while local Retirement Specialists (not OPM) report backlogs of up to nine months simply to provide retirement annuity estimates and process retirement applications. Meanwhile, the Office of Personnel Management reports a significant increase and trend in the inventory of federal retirement applications.
The bottom line? “Trumpian” ethical and moral values will permeate throughout all levels of government as “The Family” expands its control of “the business” (federal workforce). The situation is already bad enough that Congress is crafting legislation to address it in part. There has even been recent talk by Trump surrogates to push the previously discussed non-disclosure agreement requirement to federal employees again, which would, of course, constitute a direct conflict of interest. But then again, Trump has never demonstrated concerns about conflicts of interest as long as they support his interests, whether legal, moral, ethical or not.
And to think Republicans went nuts and called it a controversy when Obama wore a tan suit.
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