Making good on his promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington, President Donald Trump has told the Environmental Protection Agency to begin purging their payroll of thousands of employees deemed unnecessary.
The administration has created a special task force to oversee the process – including layoffs, early retirements and employee buyouts – which should go into effect at the end of September, The Washington Examiner is reporting.
How big are the cuts? All told, of the 15,000 employees at the EPA, about 3,200 will be eliminated.
“Streamlining and reorganizing is good government and important to maximizing taxpayer dollars,” said EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman. “This includes looking at developing opportunities for individuals to retire early.”
Washington Examiner: EPA begins Trump’s process of weeding out workers
KUOW.org: Staff Cuts Underway At EPA
Reuters: EPA chief visits Indiana waste site amid proposed budget cuts
Wasn’t this done before? Yes. Bowman insisted this was nothing new – that the Obama administration did about four years ago “”Streamlining and reorganizing is good government and important to maximizing taxpayer dollars,” said EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman. “This includes looking at developing opportunities for individuals to retire early.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean there won’t be howls of disapproval, who were noticeably silent when Obama did the same thing.
How will they do it? EPA Deputy Administrator Michael Flynn (not Lt Gen Michael Flynn) sent a memo this week to instruct regional administrators on how to comply with the rule.
The memo “requires all agencies to begin taking immediate actions on near-term workforce reductions,” Flynn wrote. “In light of this guidance, we will begin the steps necessary to initiate an early out/buyout … program.”
He said the “goal is to complete this program by the end of fiscal 2017,” which is Sept. 30.
Flynn noted that the EPA would not be ending a hiring freeze at the agency, despite the administration lifting the government-wide freeze this month.
“Given our resource situation, we will continue a freeze on external hiring,” the memo read, adding that “limited exceptions to this external hiring freeze may be permitted on a case-by-case basis.”