Reining in Rogue Bureaucrats

Bureaucracy illustration (Credit: Petr Novák, Wikipedia)

Bureaucracy illustration (Credit: Petr Novák, Wikipedia)

Apparently, many of the career bureaucrats in the federal government did not get the message — there was an election and their party lost.

This is a paragraph from The Hill: “The Trump administration also instituted a media blackout for employees of the Environmental Protection Agency and the departments of Commerce, Health and Human Services, and the Interior, sparking backlash and concerns that President Trump is attempting to silence any dissenting views and control the messaging from federal agencies.”

Shocking!  A new administration taking control of the communications coming from various Departments that serve under them.

Double shocking!! The so-called non-political bureaucracy has dissenting views and somehow thinks they still get to control the messaging from federal agencies.

Here is a news flash!  The federal bureaucracy is supposed to be non-partisan.  They are supposed to follow the lead of the president and not undermine his policies. Yet somehow, these whining bureaucrats think they have a right to having dissenting views. They don’t. Any new administration has an absolute right to tear up all of their work and have them start over.

And the reaction by these career employees who apparently have forgotten their place tells the story of how hard it is to drain the swamp.

Woodrow Wilcox


The biggest swamp monsters are not the lobbyists, but instead are those politically motivated career employees who believe they have a right to overturn an election simply by undermining the will of the people.  And due to their protected status under the Hatch Act, there is little that can be done beyond setting them in a corner, taking away their phone and computer and paying them until they retire or die.

To be fair, a vast majority of public employees who I have had the privilege of working with are worthy of the title civil servant, but unfortunately, the news of this type of rebellion against the election results calls into question whether the entire career federal service system needs to be rethought.


The Hatch Act, which established the career federal service system was designed to create a class of people who were in place to ensure the everyday business of government got done regardless of who was President.  It never was anticipated that there would be approximately two million public employees enjoying this status who would use their power to circumvent and publicly argue against the policies of a new Administration.

What makes this rebellion all the more troubling is that former President Barack Obama shifted the hiring guidelines for career positions toward a process much more friendly toward allowing the political decision makers to embed philosophically like-minded people into these supposedly career positions.

According to the Presidential Memorandum dated November 1, 2010, “Improving the Federal Recruitment and Hiring Process it, “is part of the Obama Administration’s comprehensive initiative to address long-standing impediments to recruiting and hiring top talent into the Federal civilian workforce. The President’s initiative calls for eliminating written essay-style questions when applicants first apply, allowing individuals to apply with only a resume and optional cover letter when they first apply, using category rating for competitive examining, improving quality and speed of hiring, notifying applicants about their status and ensuring manager responsibility and accountability for hiring.”

This change has allowed the Obama Administration to circumvent the previous, onerous federal hiring process and just have their friends send their resumes to their friends in government creating an aura of patronage.

At the very least, the Trump Administration should take the career civil service employees fingers off the buttons of social media, and save everyone a headache.

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Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government and the former Public Affairs Chief of Staff for the U.S. Department of Labor. Americans for Limited Government is dedicated to putting the principles of limited government into action. They work with local groups across the nation to promote freedom, limited government, and the principles of the U.S. Constitution. Their goal is to harness the power of American citizens and grassroots groups in order to put the people back in charge in states across the country.
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