Request to Journalists -The Rest of the Story: What Happened with BLM, the HQ Move, Morale, and Hiring?

Remember a few years ago when there were many stories in the news about BLM employee morale and the HQ move to Grand Junction. I think it would be useful for one or more journalists to do an update… how many HQ employees have actually been moved back to DC since the Biden Administration came in? Are the same jobs now in Grand Junction or remote? How many career Assistant Directors and Deputy Assistant Directors (if any) are duty stationed back in D.C.? How many political hires are working for BLM? What does the org chart look like and how is it different from the previous Administration? How well is the current system actually functioning in the views of employees?

What do employees think about apparent nepotism with the State Director position for Colorado- Doug Vilsack being the son of Tom Vilsack, the Secretary of Agriculture? Supposedly BLM lost a lot of career employees due to Trump and his politicals… did the BLM hire any of them back (that wouldn’t be hard if they actually wanted to come back, I wouldn’t think). How are they doing with hiring new career employees? Rumor is the agency has had about a 30% overall career vacancy rate. There’s been much about Forest Service hiring, especially fire hires, but what about BLM- are they having the same or different problems?

As we discussed at the time, there’s value in having career folks with field experience develop positive working relationships with politicals to help them avoid mistakes and hopefully make better decisions. If the career folks with field experience are not in the office, how is that working? In a post-Covid remote work world, can trust still be built without presence “down the hall”?

Anyway, I think an update from our journalist friends would be valuable.

Just for grins, I took a look at the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government rankings, which we have looked at before, and there were some interesting things about BLM.  I have no clue how accurate their data are (or not), but these figures show the workforce being larger than it ever has been, whereas as I said above, the rumor is that they are down 30%.  And these figures don’t show a dip during the Trump period, which is curious.  There actually seems to be a big dip between 2012 and 2014. from 8422 to 7699. Currently they are at 10,451 according to this.

Once again, I have no idea how the “Best Places to Work” folks weigh the data, but here’s how they see trends in “engagement and satisfaction”.

It would be great, IMHO, for someone to put all the pieces together here and see what’s going on. Now I don’t know whether any journalists will actually address these questions, but feel free to add in the comments other questions of interest to you.

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