Getting a “better deal” for American taxpayers has been a stated goal of President Trump since he started his campaign to be the nation’s chief executive two years ago.
He’s targeted some of the international trade agreements like NAFTA, he’s pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord, and it looks like the massive yearly U.S. contributions to the United Nations might take a hit.
Just last week, WND reported how he slashed an entire federal agency, the National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations, and its related “agency-level” forums.
That component of the Washington swamp had been created by Barack Obama.
Now another move is coming to light that could save taxpayer dollars: A decision in the State Department to slash the number of special envoys. It’s because, believe it or not, some of these government functionaries have “outlived their original purpose.”
The move actually was made a few weeks ago, but it’s just getting attention now, with a commentary at the Heartland Institute explaining how the announcement from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is a further shakeup of the federal government.
His letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee explained the responsibilities can be handled better by “integrating certain envoys and special representatives offices within the regional and functional bureaus” those that have “accomplished or outlived their original purpose” will be ended.
“In some cases, the State Department would leave in place several positions and offices, while in other cases, positions and offices would be either consolidated or integrated with the most appropriate bureau. If an issue no longer requires a special envoy or representative, then an appropriate bureau will manage any legacy responsibilities,” the letter said.
The letter from Tillerson explains exactly which positions should go, and which should stay. He lists those positions that will be retained at State, those that will be covered by workers at USAID, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, the Bureau of African Affairs, the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs and the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.
But a commentary by Bonner Cohen at the Heartland Institute noted dozens of positions will be eliminated, including the “envoy on climate.”
The letter notes about half of the 70 special envoy positions are vanishing, including “special envoys for the Arctic, Syria, and cybersecurity.”
Cohen explained, “Tillerson’s move was in line with his and other administration officials’ pledges to reorganize and, where possible, downsize the federal bureaucracy and in keeping with Trump’s decision to deemphasize climate change and climate policy.”
He noted EPA administrator Scott Pruitt in June announced a similar shakeup, “announcing dozens of advisors would be replaced when their terms expired rather than being automatically reappointed.”
WND recently reported on Trump’s elimination of the National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations and its related “agency-level” forums.
“The United States Government should spend tax dollars responsibly, efficiently, and in the public interest. The National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations (Council) and related agency-level labor-management forums have consumed considerable managerial time and taxpayer resources, but they have not fulfilled their goal of promoting collaboration in the federal workforce. Public expenditures on the council and related forums have produced few benefits to the public, and they should, therefore, be discontinued,” Trump wrote in his executive order.
The members, mostly executives for labor unions such as the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, AFL-CIO, National Treasury Employees Union, National Federation of Federal Employees, were not to be paid, but were to get “per diem.”
But the group apparently was intended to work as a go-between between the federal employees, their union, and the federal employment managers.
The group just recently had written to the Trump administration outlining what it wanted from the new president and his team.
The “endeavors” that needed to be “sustain[ed]” were:
“Pre-Decisional Involvement (PDI) – Recognizing that the executive order supported ‘pre-decisional involvement’ as a useful way to obtain employee input through their labor representatives on many agency matters, the incoming administration should ensure that PDI is used to promote the effective implementation of changes and improvements for the American public.”
And “Data-Driven Performance – The council provided useful guidance to assist agency labor-management forums in establishing measurable goals and assessing progress. Maintain a focus on results should continue with an emphasis on managing costs and achieving strategic agency objectives.”
Trump simply revoked the order establishing the setup, and told federal officials to “promptly move to rescind any orders, rules, regulations, guidelines, programs, or policies implementing or enforcing Executive Order 13522.”