Ron Sanders, a policy adviser on federal salaries, said Monday that he’s resigning over Trump's executive order reclassifying key federal employees.

Sanders was the chairman of the Federal Salary Council, which offers guidance on federal pay.

Trump's executive order strips protections against political interference in hiring and firing for a large portion of the federal workforce.

“I simply cannot be part of an Administration that seeks ... to replace apolitical expertise with political obeisance. Career Federal employees are legally and duty-bound to be nonpartisan; they take an oath to preserve and protect our Constitution and the rule of law ... not to be loyal to a particular President or Administration,” Sanders wrote in his resignation.

The executive order was announced Wednesday.

"President Trump signed an Executive Order giving Federal agencies more flexibility to hold career employees in critical positions accountable," the executive order reads.

"The order establishes a new classification within the Federal workforce titled 'Schedule F' for employees serving in confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating positions that are not normally subject to change as the result of a presidential transition.

"Under the order, Federal agencies will have more flexibility to hire 'Schedule F' employees and will also be able to remove them without going through a lengthy appeals process.

"This action will enhance accountability for Federal employees who are responsible for making policy decisions that significantly affect the American people."

Before serving in the Trump administration, Sanders was a director for human resources at the Office of Personnel Management for five years ending in 2010. He then served as a human capital officer in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence before leaving for the private sector. Out of government before appointed to the Federal Salary Council, Sanders served as a fellow at consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton and as the director for the University of South Florida’s School of Public Affairs.

Sanders, who is a Republican, called the executive order a smokescreen for political loyalty.

"[I]t is clear that its stated purpose notwithstanding, the executive order is nothing more than a smokescreen for what is clearly an attempt to require the political loyalty of those who advise the president, or failing that, to enable their removal with little if any due process," he wrote.

In a decision blasted by union leaders and Democrats, the order calls on agencies to reclassify work categories by Jan. 19, one day before the presidential inauguration, in a way that would allow government entities to hire and fire more readily.

“Faithful execution of the law requires that the president have appropriate management oversight regarding this select cadre of professionals,” the order read in part.

Vacancies at the Federal Salary Council were left open for about a year before he was appointed by Trump.

Other Trump appointees have also quit out of protest.

In June, Mary Taylor resigned as assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs due to Trump's response to racial tensions. James Miller resigned from his position on a Defense Advisory Board over Secretary of Defense Mark Esper’s participation in Trump’s photo op in front of St. John’s Church.

In December 2018, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned in protest due to Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria.

The head of a federal salary advisory, Ron Sanders, is the latest appointee of Donald Trump to quit his job.
US President Donald Trump trailed in polling just eight days before the November 3, 2020 election, with most Americans unhappy with his handling of the coronavirus pandemic AFP / SAUL LOEB