Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, politicization of public health policy has loomed over the governmental response in the United States. The scope of politicization is underscored by instances of political pressures faced by public employees across state and local government. Observation of such instances prompts questions regarding the implications of highly politicized crisis on public personnel systems. Using systematic qualitative content analysis of data from syndicated news articles, this study identifies publicized instances of adverse personnel actions experienced by public employees during the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the identification of publicized instances, this study also explores legislative trends focusing on public personnel systems during highly politicized emergency conditions. Results outline the positional roles subject to adverse actions, along with traits of legislative activity changing public personnel systems in the states identified. Implications of the study and considerations for future research are then discussed.
- Adverse personnel actions
- merit system principles
- politicized public health crisis