Next Wednesday’s ceremonial swearing-in of Labor Secretary Tom Perez will only be open to some agency employees who work in the Washington area. And not the ones who line up for the first seats.
It turns out they have to enter a lottery to attend. The lottery is only for career civil servants, not political appointees.
The unusual arrangement — instead of filling the seats in the Great Hall of the Frances Perkins Building on a first-come, first-served system — has rankled some Labor employees, who feel the lottery is creating a caste system that’s unfair.
“Though Secretary Perez would like for all DOL employees to be a part of this special day,space constraints limit the number of DOL employees who can attend in person,” Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management Michael Kerr wrote last week in a memo to the career staff “Therefore, we will be conducting a lottery open to career federal employees for tickets to the event.”
The winners, chosen in a random drawing, were to be notified Thursday.
Lottery winners can’t bring guests, either.
Spokesman Carl Fillichio said the agency is “trying very hard to accommodate as many people as possible” at the swearing-in, with seats in overflow rooms and a webcast of the event to Labor Department employees around the country.
In the past, lotteries have been held for spots on the roof of the agency’s headquarters at 200 Constitution Ave. NW to watch the July 4 fireworks on the National Mall, he said. Fillichio said he wasn’t sure whether attendance at other swearing-ins was decided by lottery.