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Michael Rigas, Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management, talks about a rule for appointing STEM employees to 10-year terms, paid parental leave, anti-racism training and the new mandatory payroll tax deferral

Office of Management and Budget director Russ Vought recently issued a memo directing federal agencies to cut funding for anti-racism training in the government. Michael Rigas, Acting OPM Director and new nominee to become permanent deputy director for management at OMB, defended the reasoning behind this decision on “Government Matters.”

“What the memo does is it takes one particular component of training that the feedback that we received said was creating enmity and division within the federal workforce and ran counter to our efforts to recruit, retain and honor a world-class workforce,” said Rigas. He emphasized that the federal government is “the most diverse workforce in the nation.”

Organizations including the Professional Managers Association and Senior Executives Association have voiced opposition to this directive. SEA stated, “the trainings are not meant to villainize any particular group, but rather, help each group acknowledge the ways in which unconscious bias and racial disparities in our nation’s history impact equal opportunity.” PMA called the memo “tone deaf at best and disgraceful at worst.”

In the memo, OMB maintains that “the President, and his Administration, are fully committed to the fair and equal treatment of all individuals in the United States” and that these race training sessions promote “divisive, un-American propaganda.”

When asked what OMB will look at regarding the training that has been used and potential future training, Rigas responded, “one of the things that we looked at in the trainings is to make sure … that they adhere to merit systems principles and that people and their work are judged based on what they do at the office every day, rather than what sort of membership or immutable characteristics they may have.”

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