However, it seems that some federal bureaucrats would rather stay in the DC area than move there. Politico and The Hill are reporting that the Department of Agriculture has decided to move a pair of its research agencies closer to the center where farming is conducted. Kansas City was chosen, in part, because of the USDA’s existing presence there and its proximity with many of the land grant universities doing work for the USDA. The move is supposed to save the government $300 million over the next 20 years.
Politico reports that employees at the Economic Research Service (research areas include climate change, nutrition, and the farm economy) allege that the relocation is an attempt to shrink the agency and dial back research that doesn’t align with the Trump administration’s priorities, but they have not offered any explanation of how working in a lower cost-of-living area in the middle of the farming heartland would adversely affect their work. OTOH, the USDA says the high cost of living the DC area hinders recruitment and retention at the agencies.
Politico further reports that workers at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture who arrange federal grants for agricultural research institutions believe the move is rooted in politics, but they have not explained how reducing the average distance between them and those research institutions will create any problems.
Of course, the decision to move these agencies is political. In 2016, the American people elected a President with a particular management philosophy, and he’s implementing it. Elections have consequences.