In a very noticeable quid pro quo, Trump has placed some highly unusual people in key positions within the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The people are all former campaign workers and hail from a variety of backgrounds, none of which really qualify them for them for the positions in which they have been placed.
As POLITICO reported:
President Donald Trump’s appointees to jobs at Agriculture Department headquarters include a long-haul truck driver, a country club cabana attendant and the owner of a scented-candle company.
While there might be some argument for the truck driver, as agricultural products are transported by long- and short-haul trucks and he does have experience there that might assist him in carrying out assigned duties within the USDA — IF that had been where he had been assigned. But it wasn’t.
On reviewing his qualifications and the requirements for the position he has been given, POLITICO discovered some YUGE discrepancies:
The truck driver, Nick Brusky, was hired this year at USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service — an agency tasked with developing overseas markets for U.S. agricultural trade goods — at one of the highest levels on the federal government’s pay scale, a GS-12, earning $79,720 annually. Though that pay grade requires a master’s degree or equivalent experience, it’s not clear from Brusky’s résumé whether he’s a college graduate. The document lists coursework in business management and political science at three universities from 2000 to 2013, but does not specify a graduation date.
Brusky, from Ohio, listed service as an elected county commissioner congruently with his employment at a trucking firm in Hilliard, OH. He also boasts having been a legislative aide to an Ohio state representative from 2009 until 2012. So, he does seem to have some political experience at least. His resume, though, shows that:
he has no experience in cultivating international markets for trade goods, though he notes he has experience “hauling and shipping agricultural commodities.”
So why wasn’t he placed in a position where he could utilize those life experiences to make the USDA run better?
There is little rhyme nor reason to many of the other appointees except as benefactors of quid pro quo arrangements:
[O]f the 42 résumés POLITICO reviewed, 22 cited Trump campaign experience. And based on their résumés, some of those appointees appear to lack credentials, such as a college degree, required to qualify for higher government salaries.
Some other examples:
Christopher O’Hagan was appointed as a confidential assistant at the Agricultural Marketing Service. He graduated from the University of Scranton with a major in History in 2016 and lists his only previous employment as “a cabana attendant at the Westchester Country Club in Rye, New York, while in school.” Surely that qualifies him to perform the duties as a confidential assistant?
Tim Page was a 2016 graduate of Appalachian State University. He is now serving at the Natural Resources Conservation Service. That agency helps ranchers, forest managers, and farmers employ sound conservation practices. “Page’s résumé indicates that he owns Cutting Edge LLC, a landscaping service in Connelly Springs, North Carolina.” Well, at least he went from one outside position to another.
In an email to POLITICO, a department official stated:
Much in the same way previous administrations have done, the USDA worked with the Presidential Personnel Office to place Schedule C appointees where they could be most helpful to the mission of the department. All of the appointees have skills that are applicable to the roles they fill at USDA.
Yeah… We’re not seeing that. Like, at all. What we’re seeing is some very obvious placements of people that Trump apparently felt were integral to his campaign and he is rewarding them with your tax dollars as a wage to be a place-holder in a position they have no business holding. It is either that, or Trump is desperately trying to fill positions with anyone who will take them because so many people just flat-out won’t work for him in any capacity.