WASHINGTON – The Department of Agriculture announced on Thursday that it intended to relocate two science divisions to the Kansas City region of Washington, despite the fact that they were affected by professional staff and concerns about the move. corrosion of the quality of research by the agency.
Over 500 jobs will change nationwide as the Economic Research Service department and the National Food and Agriculture Institute move to bring research closer to the agricultural communities it serves. The move is expected to save almost $ 300 million over 15 years.
“The Kansas City region created itself as a hub for all agriculture and is a big city in the heart of America,” said Sonny Perdue, the agricultural secretary, on Thursday.
The move follows almost a year to find a new house for the divisions. Plans for the relocation have created an atmosphere of employees who were afraid of their jobs being transferred and who have expressed the view that the Trump administration is trying to extinguish research that it is sometimes in conflict with its political agenda.
As Mr Perdue spoke to staff members on Thursday about the move, some employees stood up and turned his back to protest.
“HEA. it did not provide any reasonable justification to employees, the Conference or its stakeholders on this move, which will make it more difficult for the agencies to co-ordinate with other scientific and research agencies, ”said J. David Cox, national President of the Government Employee Confederation. “We will continue to work with Congress and other parties to combat this wrong proposal, which is more than a secluded way to satisfy the workforce and the parts of the agency's research that the administrative views are harmless. ”
The Democrats in Congress have been critical of the plan and have stated that they will endeavor to fund the capacity of the Department of Agriculture to relocate.
“I stand with my colleagues to support the language in the agricultural appropriations package in fiscal year 2020 to stop the department using any money to make this relocation,” said Donald S. Beyer Jr. Democrat of Virginia, in a statement. “The Trump administration must stop federal employees from choosing their jobs or homes in Virginia.” T
But law makers bought their state to deny the transfer of the decision Thursday.
“It is always positive when our government can work outside Washington and closer to the people it serves, and I am sure that the decision is to NIFA and E.R.S. Kansas City is a good city, ”said Senator Jerry Moran, Kansas Republican. “I look forward to helping to welcome these US. agencies and employees to Kansas City. ”
Mr Perdue suggested that he was ready for a push back from Congress but he hoped that he would not attempt to prevent his department from carrying out his plan.
“Certainly, Congress can do what we do, and we will consider that,” said Mr Perdue. “We hope that the Conference will recognize that this is a function of legitimate performance.”
He added that the Department of Agriculture does not “try to tell Comhdháil how to run their business, and we hope that we will be able to make this move with little disruption.” T
It is expected that staff will transfer by the end of September, but some employees who had already relocated were due to leave the divisions in recent months. Many more are expected to retire or seek transfers to other government agencies in the coming weeks.
Mr Perdue said he did not want to punish the staff of the agencies for the relocation.
“Some expressed dissatisfaction with this, as you would expect, and that is understandable,” he said, noting that workers in Washington have many job options. “We couldn't do this to interfere with intentions.”