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James Read, director of policy and evaluation at the Merit Systems Protection Board, discusses the apparent increase in Prohibited Personnel Practices, and how managers can bring the number back down.

According to the Merit Systems Protection Board, more federal managers than ever are doing things they aren’t supposed to. There are 14 Prohibited Personnel Practices in federal employment, including discrimination, coercing political activities, and retaliation against employees. MSPB reports that there’s an increased perception of these PPPs happening in offices across the executive branch. James Read, director of policy and evaluation at MSPB, says that bringing the number back down starts at the top.

“The most important thing I think would be for agency leaders to promote a culture of accountability. It’s cliché to say that the tone of the organization is set at the top, but it’s true. If agency leaders hear credible reports of improper management practices in their agencies they ought to act and they ought to show that they are acting, showing they won’t tolerate an improper practice such as sexual harassment, retaliation for whistleblowing, violation of veterans’ preference rules, those are a few of the PPPs,” Read said. “If leaders show they want their managers to conform their behavior to those rules, you are going to have a better perception rate on the ground, so to speak, people will be more productive, engaged in their work, and in the end, better serve the taxpayer.”

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