Are feds really bailing out in protest?

If you search employee exodus from federal government you will get more hits than reading the Old Testament. But is it true?

Critics of the Trump administration say a large number of high-level career civil servants, Uncle Sam’s best and brightest, have left since the president took office and the “exodus” will get bigger sooner rather than later.

If you search employee exodus from federal government you will get more hits than reading the Old Testament. But is it true? Are top feds and foreign service officers leaving in record numbers or is the workforce just aging out? Are people confusing, by accident or design, the difference between a resignation — as in, quitting with no pension — and retirement with a good and well-deserved annuity for life after a career of 20, 30 or even 40 years?

The top level of the civil service ladder is the Senior Executive Service. Pay for SES members ranges from $126,148 to $189,600 and most SES members are career employees. As of last March there were 7,186 career SESers and 658 non-career, or political SES staffers.

Defense, the biggest federal department, has 380 career and 50 non-career SES. The Air Force has 158 career SES, the Army has 253 and the Navy has 323. The Department of Justice has 750 career SES and 54 non-career executives; the Homeland Security Department has 617 career SES and 39 non-career; the Treasury Department has 437 career SES and 23 non-career; and there are 424 career SES and 23 non-career at the Department of Energy.

Like the rest of the federal workforce members of the SES are getting older with 30 percent or more of the workforce eligible to retire in some agencies.

So what about the Trump-inspired “exodus” from government? Since his election and inauguration the number of feds retiring each month has more often been smaller than similar periods during the Obama administration. The huge bumps some predicted after the November 2016 election and the January 2017 Inauguration didn’t happen.

According to data from the Senior Executives Association, which represents career SES members, in fiscal year 2017 1,522 SES members left the federal civil service. That represented 18.6 percent of the SES members who were on the job at the beginning of the fiscal year.

In fiscal 2009 a total of 1,144 SES members left the federal services. That represented 14.8 percent of the SES on board at the start of FY 2009.

Comparing those two numbers the separation rate for the SES increased nearly 26 percent from FY 2009 to FY 2017. Is it an exodus or aging workforce?

Run it through your political filter, and if you have any thoughts on the subject let me know at

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Amelia Brust

King cobras primarily eat other snakes and cold-blooded animals. These can include Asian rat snakes, dhamans and pythons up to about 10 feet long. They also eat venomous Indian cobras, kraits and even smaller king cobras.

Source: National Zoo

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