“On its surface, the President’s Executive Order purports to serve a legitimate and laudable purpose … that is, to hold career Federal employees ‘more accountable’ for their performance,” Sanders wrote. “However, it is clear that its stated purpose notwithstanding, the Executive Order is nothing more than a smokescreen for what is clearly an attempt to require the political loyalty of those who advise the President, or failing that, to enable their removal with little if any due process.”
He added: “I simply cannot be part of an Administration that seeks to do so … to replace apolitical expertise with political obeisance.”
Sanders, a lifelong Republican and human resources professional who has spent decades in different roles across the federal government, wrote to McEntee that career federal employees “take an oath to preserve and protect our Constitution and the rule of law … not to be loyal to a particular President or Administration.”
The order, he said, “seeks to make loyalty to (the President) the litmus test for many thousands of career civil servants, and that is something I cannot be part of.”
Sanders did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment.
The White House says the directive will give federal agencies more flexibility to hire “Schedule F” employees but also be able to remove “poor performers” from these roles without going through a lengthy appeals process. The White House also says that the order prohibits “certain personnel actions” against “Schedule F” employees, including “actions on the basis of the employee’s partisan affiliation, other protected characteristics, or because of the employee’s status as a whistleblower.”
But Sanders joins a growing group of voices within the federal government expressing objections to the executive order.
The American Federation of Government Employees — the largest union for federal employees — called the order the “most profound undermining of the civil service in our lifetimes.”
The order has also drawn the scrutiny of the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service, the Senior Executives Association and Democrats in Congress.
The President has long pushed the conspiracy that there is a “deep state” embedded within the government bureaucracy conspiring against him.
While speaking in Atlanta ahead of the President in September, Carson was captured holding a set of talking points that appeared to lodge complaints about the office McEntee heads.
“I am very loyal to you and after you win I hope to stay in your administration,” the notes in Carson’s hands said. “I am not happy with the way PPO (Presidential Personnel Office) is handling my agency.”