The political climate has changed and many of the poor bureaucrats at the EPA are in denial. After eight years in the ideologically simpatico Obama administration, they are struggling to deal with the angst created by the election of Donald Trump. Panic and depression have set in with some people taking sick leave to manage their grief and others breaking down in tears. From E&E News:
U.S. EPA employees were in tears. Worried Energy Department staffers were offered counseling. Some federal employees were so depressed, they took time off. Others might retire early.
And some employees are in downright panic mode in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s victory.
“People are upset. Some people took the day off because they were depressed,” said John O’Grady, president of American Federation of Government Employees Council 238, a union that represents thousands of EPA employees. After Election Day, “people were crying,” added O’Grady, who works in EPA’s Region 5 office in Chicago. “They were recommending that people take sick leave and go home.”
According to this Office of Personnel Management fact sheet, sick leave is supposed to be used for “personal medical needs,” “family care or bereavement,” caring for a “family member with a serious health condition” or “adoption-related purposes.” There’s nothing in there about feeling bad about the outcome of an election which means, technically, this is abuse of sick leave. But pampered government workers, the very people who make sure everyone else sticks to the rules, are notorious for taking “mental health days” and thus turning their sick leave into just another big bucket of paid hours off. In this case, it’s not just employees abusing their leave, it’s the managers at the EPA telling people to take a sick day.
One career EPA employee tells E&E News, “If you look at the seven stages of grief, I’m still in denial. I will not look at the news.” It sounds like there are a lot of deniers at the EPA this week. Apparently the irony of this is lost on them.
The article goes on to suggest that many distraught employees may decide to retire rather than deal with the change. “If [Trump] starts doing rotten things, then people will say, ‘Enough of this crap,'” Union president John O’Grady tells E&E News.
But there appear to be a few stoics among the life-long bureaucrats. One career employee tells the news site, “We have been through Reagan, got through [George W. Bush]. We will get through this.”
Steady, bureaucrats. Your large pensions, Cadillac health plans and guaranteed pay increases will help you through this.