The Interior Department says the move will save money and put the agency closer to regional stakeholders, a nearly identical justification for the U.S. Department of Agriculture‘s decision to move two of its agencies to Kansas City. The move is getting much the same kind of blowback; critics say many employees will quit rather than relocate, and that will end up costing the government more money and make the agency less effective for years, Eilperin and Lisa Rein report for the Post.
The move would also allow the agency to hire employees who might be more sympathetic to the administration. That has happened before: in June 2017, the Interior reassigned more than three dozen senior officials with only 15 days’ notice, installing more administration-friendly employees, Eilperin and Reins report.
“Denise Sheehan, who worked at Interior for 33 years before retiring last month from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said in an interview that the round of reassignments had a ‘chilling effect,’ limiting what career officials are comfortable saying to political appointees,” Eilperin and Reins report. Whether the effect was intended, it was, Sheehan said, “the most toxic thing in the senior executive corps I have ever seen.”