Biden team pledges help for 'damaged' federal workforce

Shutterstock Royalty-free stock photo ID: 455339206  Eisenhower executive office building in Washington DC near white house  By Andrea Izzotti 

The Eisenhower Executive Office Building, home to the Office of Management and Budget. (Image credit: Andrea Izzotti/

The Biden-Harris administration isn't done reversing Trump era "damage" to the federal workforce, a White House official charged with working on federal management and agency performance issues said on Monday.

"In my less than one month here, I've come to learn anecdotally and quantitatively just how systematically the federal workforce has been damaged, disrespected and demoralized over the last few years," said Pam Coleman, a former Obama White House official, who's serving as the director for performance management within the Office of Management and Budget and leading efforts to revitalize the federal workforce. "Each week we seem to uncover more damage."

So far, President Joe Biden has already issued a series of executive orders that reversed key workforce policies of former President Donald Trump, including the establishment of a new category of federal worker subject at-will employment rules and orders curtailing the ability of the unionized workforce to handle union business during work hours.

The work isn't done, though, Coleman said.

"We continue to assess the full extent of the damage from the previous administration's policies, actions and rhetoric, and are supporting and collaborating with [the Office of Personnel Management] to identify the best strategies to reverse these impacts and rebuild the federal workforce," she said.

OPM is also seeking renewal as the leader of personnel and labor issues in the federal government, said Rob Shriver, the associate director for employee services at OPM, during an online event hosted by Government Executive. The agency had been slated for a merger into the General Services Administration, which was thwarted by congressional Democrats.

Shriver and Coleman also repeatedly stressed the new administration's welcoming tone toward the federal workforce as compared to the Trump administration, which often took a distrustful, combative stance on the federal workforce.

"I'm here because the president has made you a priority. He sees you, believes in you and trusts you," Coleman said. "The president has made it clear that the federal government is a place where staff are protected, empowered and respected."

About the Author

Natalie Alms is a staff writer at FCW covering the federal workforce. She is a recent graduate of Wake Forest University and has written for the Salisbury (N.C.) Post. Connect with Natalie on Twitter at @AlmsNatalie.


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