Members of the American Federation of Government Employees turned their backs on Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Thursday, apparently over plans to relocate them from Washington to the Kansas City area.
Perdue announced Thursday that two of the Department of Agriculture’s research agencies, the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, will be relocated to be closer to major farming regions, according to Politico.
While Perdue has justified the relocation as a way to improve customer service and save taxpayers up to $20 million per year, some ERS employees have said it is a political move, according to the publication.
Specifically, some ERS staff have expressed suspicions the relocation is an attempt to shrink the agency and weaken its ability to conduct research that does not align with the Trump administration’s policy agenda.
The department retreated on another proposal to shift ERS within the department’s organizational structure to place it under the Office of the Chief Economist, according to Politico.
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[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Zack Budzak and originally published at The Hill. Title changed by P&P.]
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