In a letter to Congressional leaders, Federal Managers Association President Michael Styles has expressed strong concern about legislation that would convert 11,000 Farm Service Agency county employees directly to federal career status.
Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman told Congress earlier this year that FSA employees currently hired by farmer-elected county committees should be converted to federal status as part of USDA's effort to improve the department's treatment of minority employees and farmers. County employees are not subject to federal EEO and affirmative action employment laws.
Rep. Eva Clayton, D-N.C., then introduced legislation (HR 2185) that would waive for FSA county employees the requirement that all employees hired by the government serve for three years as career conditional employees before obtaining career status.
"Creating an FSA and a federal government that relects America's marvelous diversity is a goal that FMA shares and strongly supports," Styles wrote in a letter to Rep. John Mica., R-Fla., chairman of the House Civil Service Subcommittee and Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., head of the Senate Federal Services Subcommittee. "However, waiving governmentwide personnel rules to bring county employees into the civil service through the back door is counterproductive to promoting diversity in the federal workforce."
H.R. 2185 was referred to the House Government Reform and Oversight Subcommittee on the Civil Service on July 23.