Senator David Perdue (R-GA) reintroduced Wednesday the Modern Employment Reform, Improvement and Transformation (MERIT) Act (S 1898), which would expedite the dismissal of underperforming employees.
Companion legislation (HR 3348) was also introduced by Congressman Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) in the House of Representatives on June 19, 2019.
“Government employees should be held to the same standards as private sector employees, yet it is nearly impossible to fire bureaucrats for failing to do their jobs,” said Senator Perdue. “Right now, it can take more than a year to fire or replace a civil service employee, even for poor performance or misconduct. With a $22 trillion debt crisis, we cannot afford to hold onto bureaucrats who aren’t doing their jobs. Since President Trump took office, more than 4,300 bad actors have been fired, demoted, or suspended at the VA. It’s time to expand those efforts and address problems across the entire federal government.”
According to Perdue, the MERIT Act would:
- Streamline the process and shorten the amount of time required to remove underperforming employees.
- Permit agencies to remove a senior executive for performance reasons, rather than merely demote them.
- Limit retirement benefits of employees who are removed from their position due to a felony conviction related to their official duties.
- Authorize agencies to recoup bonuses and awards when performance or conduct issues are discovered.
- Extend the probationary period for competitive appointments and promotions from one year to two years so that there is adequate time to evaluate a new employee.
- Curb the ability to use intermediaries to overrule or undermine Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) precedent.
- Uphold whistleblower protections.
The full text of the proposed legislation can be found here.
The Senate version of the bill is co-sponsored by Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Mike Braun (R-IN), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).