McCain to Tillerson: Stop hiring freeze at State Dept
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) urged Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday to end his hiring freeze in the State Department, citing concerns that a depletion of foreign service officers could harm U.S. diplomatic efforts.
McCain and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) wrote a joint letter to Tillerson taking issue with the department’s “failure to replace losses” in its ranks “due to attrition and resignations,” that they said appeared as if intentionally aimed at reducing the department’s staff size.
“We know from experience that shutting off the intake of entry-level Foreign Service officers will inevitably result in shortages of appropriately experienced personnel at specific grades in future years,” the senators wrote.
The senators demanded that the State Department lift the freeze, refrain from imposing any further measures aimed at reducing staffing levels and promote high-performing officers to retain talent in the department.
McCain and Shaheen cited the drastic numbers of departures from the department and falling numbers of entry-level applicants, which they said were the product of “questionable management practices” and a “lack of experienced leadership.”
Tillerson in April decided to maintain the hiring freeze even as other federal agencies lift their freeze.
Trump had signed an executive order on his first full work day in the White House that temporarily halted all nonmilitary federal hiring, an attempt to fulfill his campaign promise to “drain the swamp” and reduce the size of government.
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