Emails show how Biden appointees greeted demoralized employees at federal agencies: ‘These last 4 years have tested our faith in our government.’

Emails show how Biden appointees greeted demoralized employees at federal agencies: ‘These last 4 years have tested our faith in our government.’
Summary List PlacementWhen Obama appointee Jenn Jones left her job at the Department of Housing and Urban Development in late 2016, she was worried about what the following four years of the incoming Trump administration would mean for the country.  “I made myself a promise that if I were given the opportunity to serve again, I would not hesitate,” she wrote Wednesday in an email to career employees at HUD.  Jones, now a Biden appointee, is back at the agency as its chief of staff. She’s one of many Obama administration veterans the Biden team has deployed across the federal government during its first days in office.  And her letter is one of five introductory emails Insider obtained that were sent by Biden officials across federal agencies as they try to reenergize employees after four difficult years under former President Donald Trump. In addition to grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout, Biden’s team is confronting a morale crisis at federal agencies. Trump regularly attacked the federal workforce during his tenure; one of his last moves was an executive order that attempted to make it easier to fire government employees.  Biden has promised to trust and respect government workers, and his appointees attempted to make inroads with the many federal workers who felt traumatized under the Trump administration.  “These last four years have tested our faith in our government, our democracy and at times, our humanity,” Jones wrote in her email to staff. She thanked the employees for their service “as we move forward as one team for America.”    Over at the Department of Health and Human Services, which has been at the center of the federal effort to combat the pandemic for nearly a year, the agency’s new chief of staff Sean McCluskie on Wednesday thanked workers for spending “countless days and nights” working to enhance Americans’ health and well-being while “dealing with unprecedented obstacles. “We are one team, and, together, we are beginning a new chapter,” McCluskie, a longtime aide to HHS secretary nominee Xavier Becerra, told staff. “The challenges remain daunting, but I want you to know that we are in this together.”    ‘Leaders who empower you’ Many employees throughout the federal government — including longtime civil servants who have worked under Republican and Democratic presidents — were demoralized by what they viewed as extreme attacks by the Trump administration. The new political appointees acknowledged those concerns in their email blasts to employees this week as they pledged to respect their work.  “While I can’t promise the challenges of the past four years will be erased beginning today, I can promise that members of the Biden team, myself included, will embrace the knowledge and expertise of those who work in this building and throughout the country,” wrote Patricia Smith, senior counselor to the secretary of the Labor Department. Smith returned to the department this week after serving as its solicitor during the Obama administration.  Energy Department employees were told in an email from their new chief of staff, Tarak Shah, that the new administration will be relying on their scientific expertise.  “President Biden and Vice President Harris have a bold science-based agenda for restoring American leadership and rebuilding our country to address the great challenges of our time.   DOE is a critical part of that agenda, wrote Shah, another veteran of the Obama administration.     “I know you have the knowledge, expertise, and commitment to realize this ambitious vision,” Shah wrote. “I also know that to do so you need leaders who empower you, provide the resources to do your jobs, prioritize health and safety in the workplace, and support a fair and equitable work environment.” Among Biden’s first acts after being sworn in on January 20 was an executive order rescinding Trump’s ban on certain federally funded diversity and inclusion trainings, including on racial sensitivity in government agencies.  Employees at the General Services Administration — the usually-obscure government agency that found itself at the center of the Trump team’s delay in kicking off the presidential transition — also got a pep talk from the new administration today.  “I know the critical importance of the agency’s mission, but I know there is much more to learn,” wrote the agency’s Acting Administrator Katy Kale, who worked in the Obama White House. “I look forward to meeting and hearing from many of you (virtually) in the weeks and months to come.” Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: What makes ‘Parasite’ so shocking is the twist that happens in a 10-minute sequence
Read More

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.