Tillis, Johnson Request President Obama to Implement Hiring Freeze During Transition | Beaufort County Now | Today, Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) sent a letter to President Obama, requesting that his administration consider setting a new precedent for presidential transitions by implementing a hiring freeze on all career civilian servant positions

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
    Press Release:

Senators Encourage the President to End the Practice of "Burrowing In"


    WASHINGTON, D.C.     Today, Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) sent a letter to President Obama, requesting that his administration consider setting a new precedent for presidential transitions by implementing a hiring freeze on all career civilian servant positions, except those in public health or safety.

    The senators criticized the longstanding practice of "burrowing in," the conversion of political appointees into career civil servant positions, which has been previously practiced by both Republican and Democratic administrations. A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that the Obama administration transferred 69 political appointees to career civilian jobs from 2010 to 2015, with 17 of the conversions not receiving prior approval from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), as required.

    "Not only is 'burrowing in' unfair to applicants without an inside connection, it further contributes to the possibility that federal workers may attempt to undermine the policies of the new president," the Senators wrote. "We respectfully encourage you to consider the aforementioned concerns and also consider the implementation of a hiring freeze on all career civil servant positions, except those that involve public health or safety, until the end of your term. Doing so not only will be a gesture of bipartisanship and goodwill, we hope it also will set a precedent for future presidential transitions."

    Full text of the letter is below:

    Dear President Obama:

    We first want to state that we, like many Americans, have been encouraged by both your words and your actions to assist the president-elect with the transfer of power and to ensure that he and his administration are prepared to lead the country on day one.

    Because we know that you are sincere in overseeing a smooth transition, we hope members of your administration will resist the urge to accelerate the hiring of career civil servants who may not share the priorities of the new administration. There is no doubt that thousands of dedicated civil servants faithfully serve in positions across the federal government without regard to who occupies the White House. However, it would be unfair to those employees, and to the American people, if they are joined by others who may not be willing to properly execute the policies of the new administration.

    Additionally, another activity practiced by both Democratic and Republican administrations in the past is the one called "burrowing in," when a political appointee moves in, or "converts," to a career civil servant position. Since early 2001, more than 300 political appointees have completed this transition. Not only is "burrowing in" unfair to applicants without an inside connection, it further contributes to the possibility that federal workers may attempt to undermine the policies of the new president.

    We respectfully encourage you to consider the aforementioned concerns and also consider the implementation of a hiring freeze on all career civil servant positions, except those that involve public health or safety, until the end of your term. Doing so not only will be a gesture of bipartisanship and goodwill, we hope it also will set a precedent for future presidential transitions.

    Mr. President, thank you again for your dedicated service to our great nation.

    Sincerely,

  • Senator Ron Johnson, Chairman, Committee on Homeland and Governmental Affairs
  • Senator Thom Tillis

  • Contact: Daniel Keylin
  •     daniel_keylin@tillis.senate.gov

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