Where are the jobs? Thousands remain vacant in Biden administration thanks to Trump

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Thousands upon thousands of jobs are open and ready for hire in the federal government, and the kicker is none of these jobs are part of the anticipated opportunities being created through the Biden administration’s $2.2 trillion infrastructure plan.  

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

TheGrio has learned that the Biden administration is finding itself having to rebuild the federal workforce. Even Labor Secretary Marty Walsh recently said there needs to be a system-wide hiring effort.

Read More: Buttigieg says racism built into US infrastructure was a ‘conscious choice’

Actually looking at the new job hires is not as much of an issue in some agencies compared to others. One of the agencies hardest hit by the vacancies happens to be the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  

HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge, who exclusively talked with theGrio’s April Ryan, said “the thousands of open positions need to be staffed ASAP” as the vacancies are “a problem” for getting work done. Fudge went on to say, “our people are overworked. Doing the jobs of two people. It’s bad for morale and it’s exhausting. It also makes it significantly more difficult to fulfill our mission.”

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House on March 18, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

As the staffing issue is a major dilemma, Secretary Fudge applauded the “dedication and hard work of the staff in place now.”

What compounds the issue for immediate hiring at HUD is a 180-day waiting period before anyone can be officially hired for each position after it is posted. The agency is hopeful that the requirements for the wait can be changed.

Another example of staffing issues even raises its head in the Labor Department. The agency is looking for Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigators. 

Read More: HUD Sec. Fudge meets with civil rights leaders to address pandemic housing challenges

During the Trump administration, some of the OSHA investigators left their posts and the jobs were not filled. Also, in that same department, from the end of December 2016 to the end of December 2020, the Department of Labor’s onboard staffing dipped more than 10%.

Administration sources also contend Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency are looking for new hires.

U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House on April 2, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“This Department’s mission is to provide workers and employers the proper guidance, support, and resources to keep this economy running. To achieve this mission, it’s my priority to rebuild this Department from top to bottom,” Labor Secretary Walsh tells theGrio.

“Across all department agencies — from workplace safety inspectors to wage and hour investigators — this Department is looking to bring in more dedicated public servants who represent a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, and who are committed to helping America’s workers.”

There are several reasons for the staffing shortages in the federal government. One issue is consistent with then-President Donald Trump not being helpful in providing space and resources, delaying the Biden transition.

Another issue that is posing a problem in the administration is a practice that the Trump administration is accused of doing called burrowing, which takes people who are otherwise political appointments and giving them permanent jobs within an agency. This, in turn, embeds them in the permanent bureaucracy (the deep state if you will) and makes them career employees. 

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

A former Democratic labor secretary, whose identity is being withheld for this story, told theGrio, “you need to find them and fire them. With every ounce I have, I would just fire those people.”

The former cabinet official acknowledged, “a lot of the career people left and a lot of the appointees were burrowed into the career ranks. It is a game of finding a needle in a haystack as you don’t know who is competent and you also don’t know who has a different agenda than the people over there.”

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