This op-ed was originally published in The Hill.
Since taking office, President Biden has pursued an active agenda to address many urgent matters that require his prompt attention. We hope one important initiative does not get lost in transition: restoring the norms of good governance.
During his term in office, President Trump sought to exert absolute control over the apparatus of government by undercutting normal operating practices and systematically dismantling protections for officials whose duty to the public might override their personal loyalty to him. It is no secret that Trump demanded personal loyalty from executive branch officials and fired those, like Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who prioritized complying with the law over following his orders. He has taken many actions to strip, override and undermine essential protections for our nation’s public servants.
Biden has already taken some steps to address these concerns. On Jan. 22 he signed an executive order to restore civil service protections, including merit selection and good cause removal protections, for thousands of hardworking federal employees. This much needed action reversed Trump’s earlier executive order removing these protections, which had exposed these positions to patronage and political retaliation. While reversing this order and others issued by Trump is a good start, many other problems remain.