Most folks who’ve watched the government — and surely the folks who work for it — over the past four years would probably say President’s Trumps relationship with the bureaucracy has been rocky. To say the least. At least most of the time.
The President came to Washington D.C. promising to drain the swamp. That sounded great to many, ominous to many others. Some efforts were made to move federal operations — and jobs — out of town. Unions took a thumping, losing government space and time to conduct business — but picked up some membership. The drive to curtail or eliminate teleworking by the administration was flattened by the pandemic which forced thousands of feds to work from home. And not one or two days a month, but full time.
The White House also proposed a long-shot plan that would/could further politicize the top ranks of the civil service. It’s infamous to many feds, the Schedule F plan. It would have put so many career jobs in a category where they could be dismissed without what the administration considered cumbersome civil service job and appeal rights. That Congress ignored it is not a surprise. But it was out there for awhile.
But by and large D.C. is pretty much intact, afloat and relatively prosperous with a large, steady federal pay roll. POTUS lashed out, or ignored, places like the Interior and Justice Departments. And also the State and Defense Departments. And EPA, and the CIA, and FBI. Oh, and the Postal Service too. We probably missed some, but you get the idea. But time marches on.
While many feds, and especially unions, welcome the Biden-Harris administration it presents some challenges. Unions unanimously backed the Democratic ticket and lashed out at the Trump administration most of the time. Soon he’ll be a memory. One that unions may miss (because he was the perfect villain) over the next couple of years.
Things should be easier (as in relaxing) for feds for the next four years. Should be.
The question is whether Democrats in the White House and Congress will reward or ignore them for their solid and automatic decades long support.
The thing is that for special interest groups, like federal and postal unions, it’s nice if politicians can count on them and show their thanks in return. But there is a fine line between appreciating (and rewarding) support and expecting (and minimizing) it. As in taking it for granted. So what’s it gonna be? Did this past four years improve and toughen the government? Or make it weaker and a less desirable place to spend a career?