Crocodile tears for the swamp denizens

I was very pleased to read about one attempt to drain the swamp in Washington, D.C.

Two small agencies within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) may be moving outside of Washington, D.C. and the federal employees involved are not happy about that. Both agencies are seeing an increase of resignations on a monthly basis.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced his intention to relocate the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) from the swamp to the heartland. Perdue said to think of it as moving the department’s scientists closer to its “customers”, the farmers. Perdue thinks the move will improve customer service and agency performance. The majority of staffers will be asked to relocate, but the actual location of the move has not yet been announced.

. . .

ERS employees are members of the American Federation of Government Employees. They only just joined the union earlier this month. Employees at ERS voted 138 to 4 to unionize. NIFA workers will hold a vote in June. Union representative Peter Winch said the move doesn’t make sense and the government workers don’t want to move.

. . .

“We will, frankly, be wanting to delay this move,” said Winch of the AFGE. Workers were told they would be given until the end of September to move to the new city, he said. “We would like a lot more leeway than that,” Winch said.

There’s more at the link.

I’m not surprised that those who live in the swamp like it there, and don’t want to move.  There are lots of advantages to being there, particularly communities that have grown rich on swamp-level salaries, and consequently offer better schools, facilities and opportunities than poorer areas throughout the country (that would be most of them).

On the other hand, I think the Secretary of Agriculture is entirely correct.  Why should his staff live and work in a bureaucratic hot-house, isolated from the challenges and difficulties facing the very people they are being asked to serve?  How can they understand those realities if they never experience them?

I think a move like this makes sense, for all the right reasons.  That it represents another step towards draining the swamp just happens to be a fringe benefit.



  1. Everyone who elects not to relocate should have their position reclassified as non-essential in perpetuity, and be offered a choice between year-around janitorial services work at McMurdo Sound for the balance of years until retirement, or termination for cause.

  2. Move them to a large town or small city in Flyover USA. There goes the 23.8% locality pay differential for DC, and probably downgrades to normal levels because there's no need to pay enormous salaries in regular life. They're easily replaced.

    A couple hundred makes a small start, but will strike fear in the bureaucracy and in DPRMD and NoVA because a lot of the rest can get moved or abolished also. All the overpriced tract housing, schools, and politician special programs in MD and VA would begin drying up. I keep looking for a down side to this.

  3. I recall one wag on his blog suggesting that since we have Al Gore's invention of the internet, we could move some of these agencies to some far flung outpost like Fargo, ND, or maybe even Southern Texas or some place where there not much to do or undesirable weather most of the year.

    Sonny Perdue has been one of Trump's better hires for his administration it seems.

  4. I am aboard with moving departments out of D.C. However, the downside is the risk of socialist infection in the interior. Fully 97% voted to unionize, that tells me they didn't think the job protections they already enjoy were sufficient for the likes of them.


  5. Moving them is better than keeping them where they are. But moving them costs money. Better that they should all be fired.

    So the option ought to be move, or be released.

  6. Most will quit instead of moving.

    It’s a test to see if it can happen.

    Congress is already trying to stop the move thru funding.

    Amazing what Trump is doing, that’s getting little attention.

  7. so many of these makework jobs and,indeed, whole departments, could
    be done away with entirely and never be missed.
    i'd like to see the department of education done away with and no opportunity for them to transfer their evil work to the department of labor
    i remember seeing a report about a farmer with a ranger on one side of him and an environmental protection agency employee on his other side telling him what to do.
    in direct opposition to each other.
    and both saying the farmer would be cited if he did not follow through.
    so he would be cited no matter what. and they were interfering with his ability ti raise the food we all need.

  8. Yep it's a repeat of what the DoD did 20 years ago when it moved a lot of its systems commands out of Crystal City. SPAWAR moved to San Diego but the ones that moved jumped step or a grade in civil service. Some of NAVSEA moved to Tidewater, VA. AIRSYSCOM also moved but I have no idea where. Somebody very high in the DoD asked the question, why do we need all these people in DC? We don't.

  9. Happens all the time in industry. If you want the job, then move. If not, resign.

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