Latest Federal Best Places to Work Rankings Released, FLRA Drops 31 Points

In this year's newly-released iteration of the Partnership for Public Service's Best Places to Work in the Federal Government rankings, the latest numbers hint at larger underlying stories within the ranked agencies.

At the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA), engagement scores plummeted by 31 percentage points, falling from 72.6 percent last year to 41.6 percent this year. The results are unsurprising in light of the agency's recent announcement that it would close two more offices in Boston and Dallas, with the closures concluding last month. The agency also lacks a General Counsel, an ongoing pain point in attempting to conduct its daily business.

The announcement of the recent office closures, which leaves the FLRA with five remaining offices around the country, was met with a very unusual response by an FLRA Member, Ernie DuBester, who included his dissent in the Federal Register entry announcing the office closures.

"Now is the worst time to downsize further a dispute resolution agency like the FLRA..." DuBester wrote, writing that "there is very likely to be an increase in the number of grievances and labor-management disputes," in light of ongoing Trump Administration reorganization efforts. DuBester called the developments a "crying shame."

NASA continued to dominate the annual rankings, boasting an 81.2 percent employee engagement rating, an increase of .3 percent over last year. NASA outpaces its next large agency competitor, the Department of Health and Human Services, by more than 10 percentage points. Rounding out the top five large agencies were the Department of Commerce, the Department of Transportation, and the Intelligence Community.

The Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, the overall leaders in the Midsize and Small Agency categories, respectively, boasted impressive employee engagement scores of 84 percent (a 2.6 percent increase) and 87.2 percent.

The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) also saw a large drop, falling 7.4 percent. OSC is feeling many of the same pressures as FLRA, and faces increased difficulty completing its work with the Merit System Protection Board being rendered essentially defunct pending Senate action.

Other notable changes include a 12.6 percent drop at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a 12.4 percent drop at the Department of Education, and a 25.2 percent drop at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The largest decrease among large agencies occurred at the Department of Agriculture, which is down 6.9 percent in this year's rankings.

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