The chairman of an executive branch advisory board resigned over President Donald Trump’s executive order that politicized much of the federal workforce.
Ron Sanders stepped down Monday as head of the Federal Salary Council, which advises the executive branch on compensation issues, and blasted the president’s order that strips many federal employees of their civil service protections, reported Government Executive.
“On its surface, the president’s executive order purports to serve a legitimate and laudable purpose — that is, to hold career federal employees ‘more accountable’ for their performance,” Sanders wrote. “That is something that I have spent most of my professional life — almost four decades in federal service (over 20 as a member of the Senior Executive Service) — trying to do. However, it is clear that its stated purpose withstanding, the executive order is nothing more than a smokescreen for what is clearly an attempt to require the political loyalty of those who advise the president, or failing that, to enable their removal with little if any due process.”
Sanders, a lifelong Republican, told John McEntee, the director of the White House office of personnel, that his resignation was “a matter conscience.”
“I simply cannot be part of an administration that seeks … to replace apolitical expertise with political obeisance,” Sanders wrote. “[To] some, requiring that loyalty may seem entirely appropriate. After all, shouldn’t all employees do what the boss and his lieutenants tell them to do? I say no, at least not when it comes to career civil servants.”
“The only ‘boss’ they serve is the public, and the laws that their elected representatives enact, whether this or any president likes it or not,” he added. “That is the way our Constitution is supposed to work, and no president should be able to remove career civil servants whose only sin is they may speak such a truth to him.”