NASA Employees: Beware Of Schedule F - And Burrowing

Trump's Plan to Gut the Civil Service, Lawfare

"But this new executive order exempts agencies from following the civil service rules for hiring and firing Schedule F employees. If you are a career civil servant in either the competitive or the excepted service, your agency can simply move you into Schedule F--after which you lose your civil service job protections and can be fired at will. You would also lose the right to file an appeal to the MSPB if you are fired from a Schedule F position. What's more, current political appointees can be placed into Schedule F positions without competition--a form of "burrowing in," which the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is supposed to guard against. Improper "burrowing in" occurs when a current (or recently departed) political appointee is hired into a permanent competitive service, nonpolitical excepted service, or career Senior Executive Service position."

Trump lays the groundwork for a massive government purge on his way out the door, Washington Post

"Now that he's lost, it's reasonable to wonder if Trump simply plans to fire (and perhaps not replace) as many career experts as possible, leaving Biden with a hollowed-out government unable to perform even its most basic functions. In other words: a purge. If that sounds alarmist, recall that Trump has engaged in similar government purges before, of both political appointees and career civil servants whom Congress intended to be shielded from such retaliation. This has usually happened under the guise of "draining the swamp."

Keith's note: As far as I can tell, NASA has yet to tell anyone if they've been re-classified as Schedule F. Given tidbits that have dribbled out of places such as OMB, a significant number of NASA employees could find themselves in this new category with little or no advanced notice. NASA apparently does not have to say anything to anyone about their reclassification decisions until 19 January 2021 - the day before the Trump Administration ends. Given the recent stacking of obscure panels with Trump loyalists and all of the insane election lawsuits, anything is now possible.

But wait, there's more. While being lumped into Schedule F can allow you to be fired for virtually any reason, Trump political employees already at NASA or elsewhere in the government can be reclassified as Schedule F with a moment's notice thus allowing them to burrow in to a NASA career position and thus stay employed past the end of this Administration - unless the Biden folks decide to fire them using Trump's new rules. Trump political appointees are located at NASA HQ. Most are heading out the door - as is the traditional, professional thing to do as an Administration comes to an end, and I wish them well. But at least two of them at the highest levels of the agency like working at NASA a little too much and are talking about trying to use political influence to get a schedule F reclassification i.e. *Shazam* and you have a new job that could last forever without having to compete for it.

I debated whether to get into this with folks since, well the pandemic already has everyone on edge, but I feel a responsibility to post what I know. Feedback is always welcome. Sources are protected. Happy holidays.

- Civil Servants Are Going To Lose Protections, earlier post
- Executive Order on Creating Schedule F In The Excepted Service

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on December 9, 2020 6:16 PM.

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