OPM Employees Call Out Their Director on Flip-Flopping

Categories: OPM, The Insider

Office of Personnel Management (OPM) employees called out their acting director for being evasive and flip-flopping on the administration’s plan to dismantle OPM and merge it with the General Services Administration (GSA).

Attending a rally across the street from OPM’s headquarters June 25, agency employees expressed anger at acting OPM Director Margaret Weichert for not being forthcoming about the impact of the merger.

“I’ve had the privilege to sit in a lot of meetings with Weichert and employees at OPM and hear what she had to say, and my question to her has always remained ‘How will your changes impact OPM employees?’” AFGE Local 32 Chief Shop Steward Marlo Bryant-Cunningham told the crowd. “Her answers were everyone will still be able to work if they want to work. There are no RIFs. There are no layoffs. Everyone will be able to work.” Each time Bryant-Cunningham recounted an answer she had received from Weichert to the assembled employees, they shouted “Lies!”

Bryant-Cunningham went on to say that when employees asked Weichert questions directly, she would never respond. Employees asked why OPM wants to merge with GSA and what GSA has in common with OPM, but Weichert couldn’t answer. Employees come to work stressed out and crying due to this man-made crisis.

“Margaret said a lot, but she doesn’t know. Where is the data? Why haven’t employees been able to see the data? Why hasn’t anyone in Congress been able to see the data?” Bryant-Cunningham asked. “She said in a meeting if anybody has any better ideas let me know. How the hell can we let you know when you haven’t given up any information?”

Local 32 President John Cherry called blowing up OPM reckless, impractical, and potentially dangerous as it would politicize the federal workforce.

“The Trump administration plans to destroy our country’s merit-based civil service,” Cherry said.

Support from Congress, allies

Several members of Congress spoke at the rally to show support for federal employees. They told employees the 2020 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill has provisions blocking funds from being used for the merger.

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., who called the administration’s plan to dismantle OPM a ‘phony merger,’ said he would work with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer to offer an amendment to the bill to prohibit any RIFs or layoffs as the administration has threatened to do if Congress fails to advance the merger.

“They have no plan, and they’ve communicated to nobody,” Connolly told the crowd. “Here’s what we assert: They don’t have the statutory authority to do this, and we’re going to challenge them if necessary in the court of law.”

Indeed, at a June 27 congressional hearing, OPM still couldn’t provide legal analysis that supports its proposed merger, angering members of Congress from both sides of the aisle.

Hoyer, D-Md., said the merger makes no sense as GSA’s and OPM’s missions are different.

“Federal employees are not property. Federal employees are not inanimate objects,” Hoyer told the crowd. “Federal employees are people who care and whom we rely on every day to make our government work.”

Also speaking at the rally were Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C.; Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va.; National Federation of Federal Employees President Randy Erwin; International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Government Employees Director Jim Price; AFGE National Secretary-Treasurer Everett Kelley; AFGE National Vice President for District 14 Eric Bunn Sr.; and former Local 32 president Charlretta McNeill.

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