Jordan LaPier
Director of Public Relations

Partnership for Public Service statement on OPM merit system rule

April 4, 2024

WASHINGTON – The nonpartisan, nonprofit Partnership for Public Service today released the following statement from President and CEO Max Stier on the Office of Personnel Management’s final rule seeking to safeguard the civil service from partisan interference by clarifying longstanding merit system principles related to hiring and removing career federal employees: 

“The public benefits tremendously from having a career federal workforce hired for their skills and free from political interference to equitably serve all Americans. OPM’s final rule maintains a commitment to a bedrock principle of our democracy: that civil servants serve their country based on merit, not their political beliefs. 

“Under a rescinded executive order issued by then-President Donald Trump in October 2020, thousands of federal employees could have been converted to newly created “Schedule F” positions subject to removal for partisan reasons and replacement based on loyalty rather than merit. OPM’s final rule responds to this misguided effort by clarifying that employee status and civil service protections cannot be taken away unless given up voluntarily and establishing procedural requirements for moving positions from the competitive service to the excepted service and within the excepted service.  

“Today’s final rule is a necessary step to prevent partisan abuse of the civil service rules and a return to the failures and corruption of the spoils system of the 1800s. Those rules do, however, need to be updated. Agencies and the administration should continue to explore ways to make our federal government more responsive, transparent and accountable to the American people. 

“Streamlining processes for hiring, performance management and accountability, and preparing managers to support the workforce through the talent lifecycle are just some of the ways the federal government can better serve while adhering to merit principles. The Partnership stands ready to work with Congress, agencies, administrations of both parties and anyone interested in taking on these important tasks.”

During the past 22 years, the nonpartisan, nonprofit Partnership for Public Service has been dedicated to building a better government and a stronger democracy. We work across administrations to help transform the way government works by providing agencies with the data insights they need to succeed, developing effective leaders, inspiring the next generation to public service, facilitating smooth presidential transitions and recognizing exceptional federal employees. Visit, follow us @PublicService and subscribe today to get the latest federal news, information on upcoming Partnership programs and events, and more.