Zinke Announces Largest Reorganization in the Department’s 168-Year History

A massive overhaul of the department will be launched by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke which is meant to reorganize the management of federal lands and to move thousands of government employees to new locations across the continent.

In an interview for The Washington Post Zinke said that “If you look at the way we’re presently organized, all the bureaus under Interior have different regions . . . and are not aligned geographically.”

The plan is to divide the country into 13 regions which are based on geographic basins and watersheds, with different parts of the Interior Department located within those boundaries. According to Zinke, these 13 regions will be needed to help the federal government be able to better manage lands.

This kind of massive moving of Interior Department employees requires congressional approval, and because of that Zinke stated that they plan to negotiate the whole reorganization with lawmakers in the upcoming budget approval.

“We want the reorganization to be bipartisan,” Zinke said in the interview.

“There will be a lot of my time spent on the Hill, talking to ranking members and chairmen. In the Senate, the appropriations committee was briefed last year on what the beginning of the reorganization will look like,” he later concluded.

The Hill reports that Zinke consulted with 150 Senior Executive Service staffers this week on the reorganization and that those staffers were charged with coming up with ways to streamline the Interior Department’s agencies and identifying new cities that department employees could be based in.

This action by the interior secretary is the largest reorganization in the department’s 168-year history, moving to shift tens of thousands of workers to new locations and change the way the federal government manages more than 500 million acres of land.

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