Schedule F Executive Order

November 20, 2020

The Honorable Gary Peters
United States Senate
Hart Senate Office Building
Suite 724
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Peters,

As the nation’s largest non-partisan professional association representing nearly 29,000 federal law enforcement officers from across all 65 federal agencies, I am writing to you on behalf of the membership of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association to express our support for S. 4907, legislation that would cancel the unnecessary recent Executive Order to create a new "Schedule F” classification for certain federal employees serving in "confidential, policy-determining, policy making, and policy advocating positions.” 

Our concerns lie in the structure of this proposed Schedule in that it appears it could strip federal law enforcement officers of critical Title 5 civil service protections which are especially necessary at this time of heightened and often erroneous scrutiny and amid persistent calls to defund law enforcement. According to the guidelines in the published order, the new Schedule F within the excepted service would be composed of "employees in confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating positions.”

By definition, this potentially includes law enforcement officers and supervisors, who stand to lose important protections that ensure they are protected from political pressure, public judgements, and unfair congressional scrutiny. While the order instructs individual agency heads to determine which current employees fit this definition and move them into this new classification—whether they are members of the competitive service or other schedules within the excepted service—, it does not clearly delineate which federal law enforcement positions may be included or excluded from coverage. 

Thus, based on the general terminology of the E.O., the law enforcement positions that could be affected range from the Directors of the FBI and the Secret Service, to agency Inspectors General, to journeyman rank and file officers. These and other critical law enforcement positions operate within various civil service protections that help ensure they can perform their duties without undue influence, scrutiny or persecution.

Notwithstanding these protections within current civil service regulations, there are already mechanisms in place to terminate any senior level appointed official whose performance is lacking or who is not demonstrating the right style of leadership for an agency.

If allowed to take effect in January, this order could fundamentally undermine protections that have been in place to safeguard federal law enforcement officers against political attacks, public misperceptions, and politically motivated congressional scrutiny.

Because of this, we support canceling this Executive Order immediately, to ensure that federal law enforcement officers of every rank and their positions are explicitly excluded from coverage under the new Schedule F. In so doing, we would ensure that our members and other federal law enforcement officers can continue to do what you have asked without fear of retribution and retaliation: ensure that law and order is maintained, preserve and protect all citizens, and continue to keep our justice system and nation safe.

Larry Cosme
National President
Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association