2018-07-25 / Front Page

Isakson, Perdue leading civil service reform

Georgia U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson and David Perdue, along with U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk are leading the charge for civil service reform in Washington.

Last year Congress passed the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act introduced by Sen. Isakson, chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. VA terminations increased by 26 percent.

The bipartisan legislation reformed the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs by allowing the VA secretary to dismiss bad employees and ensure appropriate due process protections for whistleblowers.

But the VA is not the only agency plagued with abuse. Rep. Loudermilk has been leading the charge for civil service reform — the MERIT Act — in the House for months. His efforts received a huge boost recently when Sen. Perdue introduced companion legislation which gave the MERIT Act a real chance of passing before the midterm elections.

For years, federal employee unions have made it impossible to enact common sense reforms that enhance the efficiency and productivity of the federal workforce; but now, change might finally be on the horizon.

The federal government is historically plagued with ineptitude, stories of poor performing employees keeping their jobs despite corruption, fraud and abuse over the years.

Considering the VA bill passed with bipartisan support, it is surprising both parties have not rallied behind the MERIT Act in the same way.

However, public sector unions have been against the MERIT Act and seemingly every other measure which allows management control over their employees. The result over the past 40 years to has been to make it extremely difficult to fire poor performing actors, essentially making the civil service a place for lifetime job security.

Earlier this year, President Trump issued a series of executive orders which have forced federal unions to be more accountable to their members and less reliant on government funds. By limiting the amount of time federal employees can spend on union business, Trump has saved taxpayers an estimated $100 million that would normally flow to unions.

These actions, coupled with the Supreme Court decision Janus v. AFSCME that allowed state and local government employee to opt out of union dues, has established a clear momentum for civil service reform.

“Our country is facing a $21 trillion debt crisis, and we simply cannot afford to hold onto bad actors who aren’t doing their jobs,” Perdue explained. “President Trump has called on Congress to clean up government waste. Since he took office, more than 1,550 underperforming bureaucrats have been fired at the VA. It’s time that approach is applied to the entire federal government.”

“With big labor losing steam and civil service reform gaining it, there is no reason Congressional representatives on both sides of the aisle cannot move forward with the MERIT Act this summer,” noted Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning. “Americans want the swamp drained and that can only happen if poor performers are fired.”

Return to top