Employees turn their back on Agriculture secretary over being relocated to Kansas City
Imagine being told to do an assignment by your boss and instead of following orders or having a conversation about why you cannot complete the job, you simply stood up and turned your back on him. You would probably be fired, right? Well, not if you work for the federal government. Yesterday, a group of federal employees literally stood up and turned their backs on Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue after being told they would be relocated to Kansas.
The Hill reports that Sec. Perdue “announced Thursday that two of the Department of Agriculture’s research agencies, the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, will be relocated to be closer to major farming regions.”
In response, the employees expressed their dissatisfaction in a juvenile manner by turning their backs on Sec. Perdue and shunning him.
American Federation of Government Employees members from NIFA snd ERS turn backs on Agriculture Secretary Perdue at session on their unwanted relocation from DC to Kansas City area. #USDA pic.twitter.com/40JlVtuXFl
— Jerry Hagstrom (@hagstromreport) June 13, 2019
The Department of Agriculture claims that the move will save taxpayers $20 million per year as well as advance other necessary initiatives by having the employees closer to farmers and those impacted by the department.
However, critics of the relocation say that the plan is a politically motivated effort by President Donald J. Trump to stifle internal criticism and findings which could harm his administration. The employees also claim they were given no notice of the relocation until just prior to the announcement. The employees, who opted to unionize after the announcement, were supposedly given their reassignments yesterday and now have 30 days to decide whether or not they will continue working for the department.
Two scientific agencies in the Department of Agriculture will move from Washington to the greater Kansas City region, USDA announced Thursday, despite strong resistance to the plan.
Nearly 550 positions at the Economic Research Service, a statistical agency, and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which funds cutting-edge agricultural science, are expected to be moved by the end of the federal fiscal year, Sept. 30. USDA estimated the savings at $300 million over 15 years from employment and rent.
“The Kansas City Region has proven itself to be hub for all things agriculture and is a booming city in America’s heartland,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement.
The news release did not identify the location of the offices. But Tim Cowden, president and chief executive of the Kansas City Area Development Council, said the agency is evaluating office property on both sides of the Kansas-Missouri border.
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