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February 15, 2005

Defense Department to Abolish Seniority

With plans to destroy civil service protections in the Homeland Security Department, it's hardly surprising that the Defense Department is following suit. The new rules would initially effect 750,000 workers at the Defense Department, but could soon expand to far more workers. Managers would have a free hand to award raises, promote and demote workers based on their subjective evaluations of employees, opening the door to manager favoritism and retaliation against any employee who doesn't tow the administration's partisan line.

And the new rules mean that, with limited funds in each department, co-workers will have ever incentive to sabotague fellow workers. As one Social Security employee interviewed by the Baltimore Sun explained:

"Why would I help out a co-worker when I know that if I don't, he'll be rated lower and that will potentially mean more money for me," Ed Casswell said during a lunch-break telephone conversation.
As politicos often say, personnel are policy. Up to now, that statement meant the political appointees to the federal government. With these new changes, we are returning to the days of the spoils system, where civil servants will have to serve not the public interest but the partisan interest of their political bosses.

Forget repealing the New Deal; the Bush administration is seeking to repeal the Progressive Era's reforms of government corruption.

Posted by Nathan at February 15, 2005 02:01 PM