After a promised freeze, a flurry of new hires in federal agencies

Both before the election and after, President Elect Donald Trump promised a hiring freeze on federal workers when he takes office, vowing to streamline the process and reduce the size of government through attrition and increased efficiency. According to members of the transition team, Trump reached an agreement with President Obama which would have begun an unofficial freeze on new hires beginning on December 1st, giving Trump time to deal with the situation in detail after he’s sworn in.

It looks like that agreement wasn’t very official at all, at least on the part of the White House. There is a reported “flurry” of new hires going on, designed to fill the roles as much as possible before the new broom sweeps clean. (Washington Post)

Several federal agencies are accelerating hiring in the final days of the Obama administration to ensure that as many new employees as possible are in place before President-elect Donald Trump imposes a promised hiring freeze.

Leaders at these agencies are filling open positions with transfers and outside hires, and making internal promotions before Trump takes office Jan. 20, according to internal documents and interviews.

The hiring could increase tensions between the Trump transition team and the Obama administration — a relationship that has grown worse in recent days due to disagreements over how the United States should handle its relationship with Israel and the issuance of new sanctions against Russia over its role in hacking incidents tied to the election.

It was apparently Sean Spicer who revealed the details of the agreement between the White House and the transition team. The offer to freeze new hires allegedly came from Andrew Mayock, in the Office of Management and Budget. That has the ring of truth, since if there were to be any sort of freeze, that’s where it would have originated. When asked to comment on the story last night, the White House declined.

This repeated pattern is becoming increasingly tedious by now. We’ve seen one example after another of Barack Obama essentially littering the road with caltrops in front of the Trump transition team. New regulations and massive “historical monuments” are being shoved through at a shocking rate, creating more and more work for Trump to do when he takes office. Now the White House is going back on their agreement and stuffing the federal worker roles full to the brim just as Trump is supposed to begin thinning the herd.

This is a particularly effective ploy on Obama’s part because of the fact that it’s nearly impossible to get rid of a federal worker once they’re on the payroll. We’ve studied one case after another here, demonstrating how these workers somehow manage to keep their jobs even if they’re caught downloading porn on their government computers, not showing up for work or even winding up in jail. And these aren’t just outside applicants being added to the payroll either. As we discussed in October, a number of political appointees have been “burrowing in” recently, switching from those roles to permanent federal positions.

Seventeen political Obama appointments across eight different agencies converted to career positions without receiving the required Office of Personnel Management (OPM) approval.

After President Obama leaves the White House on Jan. 20, 2017, over 4,000 of his political appointees also vacate their government offices as well. Federal employees prepare for new administrations by converting some of the outgoing White House’s political appointees to permanent career civil servants.

All the happy talk of a “smooth transition” is looking like vaporware at this point. Barack Obama seems to be throwing a temper tantrum and doing everything he can to make the transition to the new administration as painful and contentious as possible. It’s a disappointing end to a pair of very disappointing terms and we’ve still got three more weeks to go.