Saul and Black also roughed up SSA staff, headed by Melissa McIntosh, president of the union representing the agency’s administrative judges, to say that they “engaged in unrestricted anti-union action.” This includes “allegedly flouting contractual rights, discriminating against employees for protected union activities and denying unions the information they are entitled to receive”. In December, the Association of Administrative Law Judges and the National Council of Local SSA Field Operations (Council 220) declared “no confidence” in SSA Commissioner Andrew Saul and Deputy Commissioner David Black, and demanded their ouster. According to a union statement, the finding of “mistrust” of the board’s executive committees was “unprecedented”, the result of “years of mismanagement and poor leadership”.
The vote is also a warning against their management of the remote work program, the lack of open communication with SSA employees amid a global pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus, and the lack of a clear vision for SSA, ”the union said. These accusations date back to 2019, when Saul canceled a popular telecommuting program, saying “a time of workload crisis is not the time to experiment with working from home,” citing the long lead times for expectation faced by social security providers. While Saul was ending this program, he himself refused to report to work at SSA headquarters in Baltimore. Ralph de Juliis, Chairman of the AFGE 220 Board said employees were told he “spends his time in New York because that’s where he comes from” to explain his absence. He was therefore able to work from home when the staff could no longer do so.
Turns out he wasn’t really job neither is his home, de Juliis told HuffPost. The SSA uses Skype for internal communication, and did so before the pandemic. According to Juliis’ Skype screenshots shared with HuffPost, at one point last year, Saul didn’t even bother to log into the program. There was a period in January 2020 when his account was inactive for 67 days. “We really do think Biden should find new people to run the Social Security administration who haven’t made a point of being bad and horrible for the employees and the union,” de Juliis said.
Democrats, including Senate Social Security, Pensions and Family Policy Subcommittee Chair Sherrod Brown were demanding that President Biden immediately dismiss and replace Saul and Black, calls that began pretty much immediately after the election. Both are “incapable of realizing the Democrats’ vision to protect and extend social security,” Brown said in his first statement as president. “As agents of Trump’s Social Security agenda, they cut back on benefits hardworking Americans have earned, attacked Social Security Administration workers, denied beneficiaries due process, and unnecessarily increased disability exams during the Covid-19 pandemic, ”Brown said. the multitude of regulations followed by the SSA during Trump’s four-year tenure.
Members of the House Key Ways and Means Committee joined on those calls. In a joint statement, Social Security subcommittee chair John Larson of Connecticut, worker and family support subcommittee chair Danny Davis of Illinois, and subcommittee chair Supervisor Bill Pascrell of New Jersey, issued a statement calling on Biden to request the resignation of Saul and Black, or to fire them. “Andrew Saul has vigorously advanced a series of anti-beneficiary and anti-employee policies within the Social Security administration that threaten to seriously harm vulnerable Americans,” Democrats said. Mr. Saul and his deputy, David Black, pushed for substantial cuts to social security. They also engaged in aggressive anti-union activities and ended the teleworking of thousands of employees in the months leading up to the pandemic. of COVID-19. “
Both can be fired by Biden for just cause, even though Saul’s tenure is supposed to end in 2025. There is certainly the appearance of sufficient reason to start them, especially in the allegations about which the Inspector General is investigating, according to which they pressured judges to cut disability approvals. There is Supreme Court precedent for their dismissal, since the court handed down Seila law against CFPB last year, which struck down a federal law prohibiting the president from firing directors of independent agencies over political disagreements. There are only two other independent agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that have a single director: Social Security and the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Which means Biden can oust Saul regardless of when his tenure is supposed to end, and do so legally.