Oversight Ranking Member Investigating Interior Dept. Reassignments
Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the Ranking Member on the House Oversight and Government Reform (OGR) Committee has announced an investigation into the Department of Interior’s reassignment of roughly one-fifth of the agency’s Senior Executive Service (SES) employees.
In a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Cummings expresses concerns that the agency may have used the SES reassignment process in order to silence information the administration does not favor.
“Over the past several months, you have reportedly threatened to use personnel reassignments to move individuals who are disloyal to the Trump Administration and to shrink the Department’s workforce,” Cummings writes, highlighting Zinke’s speech to the National Petroleum Council, in which he said that, upon taking over as secretary, he realized he’s got “30 percent of the crew that’s not loyal to the flag."
While relocations are an expected part of SES roles, Cummings suggests the agency “reportedly reassigned as many as 50 SES employees without providing a clear rationale.”
The Interior Department, in its statement on the accusations that the moves were politically motivated, said, “Personnel moves are being conducted to better serve the taxpayer and the Department’s operations through matching Senior Executive skill sets with mission and operational requirements.”
In his letter, Cummings writes, “However, your reassignments appear to do exactly the opposite.”
Cummings has requested that the agency turn over all documents pertaining to the moves by October 19th, including an accounting of the costs associated with the moves, and explanations of how the moves “better serve taxpayer interests and the department’s operations.”
Posted in From the Hill