April 17, 2012

Ex-GSA chief Martha Johnson resigns and (non)apologizes: "I will mourn for the rest of my life the loss of my appointment."

It starts out well: "I will mourn for the rest of my life..."

But what does she mourn? The loss of my appointment. She lost her job over this. That's what really hurts.

I just wanted to highlight that, in case you were distracted by the much flashier incident of Jeff Neely taking the 5th.

85 comments:

Fen said...

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the panel’s ranking member, called the situation “indefensible” and “intolerable. It’s not your money, it’s the taxpayers’ money,”

Federal employees everywhere say "Huh?"

The only time I ever hear feds worry about spending taxpayer money is near the end of the last quarter: "if we don't use it all up, we'll get less next year".

That's why the tax debate is superficial. Its deeper than tax rates, its the out of control spending. Get spending under control and only then should we talk about taxes.

rhhardin said...

The odd placement of "for the rest of my life" fronts the deep thought rather than the everyday job, giving an amusing bathos like effect.

bagoh20 said...

Look at the bright side, Martha - you're perfectly qualified for higher office.

The Drill SGT said...

Martha wasn't there. I don't think her staff at HQ had much oversight of what the Western Regions were doing.

should she? yes.
she was the Captain of the ship.

What I want to know WRT to her, HQ and Obama is:

The OIG report was draft last May, but nobody took any action till 10 months later. They could have gotten out in front of this.

clearly at this point, Neely is the designated fall guy.

X said...

government employees shouldn't get bonuses. you want a bonus? get a job in the private sector and earn it from someone who it's theirs to give.

bagoh20 said...

I mean our President's only applicable experience is that he effectively blew $300 million of other people's money to no good effect. Look how fast that was forgotten and how fast he moved up. Over 50% of American will now think you are really smart, calm and rational. You go girl!

The Drill SGT said...

PS: GSA is mostly fee funded. They have a record of being less like Feds than some agencies.

PPS: Wife is a 30 year Fed Contract acq lawyer. She and her peeers are shocked at the acquisition rule breaking.

Scott M said...

In order to be ashamed, first you have to understand the concept of shame. Moral relativism tends to eclipse understanding of shame.

SGT Ted said...

I GOT TOSSED OFF THE GRAVY TRAIN!!!! THATS WHAT REALLY HURTS!

WAAAAH!

MadisonMan said...

I enjoy the spectacle of Congressmen being outraged that money is being spent profligately. At a oversight hearing that costs money.

SGT Ted said...

She's not mournful about the gold plated waste of tax dollars we don't have. Just her career.

These people are the exact opposite of who should be in Government work. There's no concept of service, just entitlement. But, what can you expect from union minded employees of the GSA? Turf protecting and building to get step increases is a time honored tradition in the GSA. Saving money and being good stewards is that farthest thing from their minds.

bagoh20 said...

"She and her peeers are shocked at the acquisition rule breaking."

Maybe she wasn't really close enough. These people seemed pretty open and unencumbered by any organizational culture of restraint or responsibility. I doubt there are many who worked in the organization who were surprised. I would expect envy of not being in the right department or having one of the wilder bosses, but not surprised. Probably more surprised that anyone would mind. "Everybody does this all the time."

Fen said...

Wife is a 30 year Fed Contract acq lawyer. She and her peeers are shocked at the acquisition rule breaking.

Similar situation with friends here. They do contracts for Feds. They say the only way it could be worse is if it was GAO instead of GSA.

Pshaw. That would be like having a Treasury Secretary that doesn't pay his taxes...

Fen said...

Probably more surprised that anyone would mind. "Everybody does this all the time."

Yah. I would caution that the $9,000 bonus is not as outrageous as one would think when its taken in context. The way the article frames it isn't really fair.

Kev said...

(the other kev)

It took a while, but it looks like this administration's found its Jamie Gorelick.

Fen said...

government employees shouldn't get bonuses. you want a bonus? get a job in the private sector and earn it from someone who it's theirs to give.

They have started to clamp down on that, at least giving much less than in the past. I have a friend who routinely got about $3000. Last year it was $800.

I know, to little to late.

I'm wondering what a "drawdown" of feds will do to the local housing market here. People are already on the margin.

Meade said...

I'm guessing that, back when she received her appointment, she exulted, gloried, and rejoiced in it.

Fen said...

The problem with the federal workforce is that you have alot of affirmative action hires who game the system. They know more about filing EEO complaints than their actual job. Its almost impossible to fire them, even after putting them on multiple PIPs. At best, they get moved to another department to become someone else's problem. If you've ever wondered how the fed can be so incompetent, this is the primary reason. You have a bunch of squatters who game the racial complaint system to keep from being fired.

Management can't do much. In the fed, if you get 3 EEO complaints filed against you your career is over (even if they are all frivolous). So most managers just look the other way and let the slackabouts game the system (ie. do little work).

What that leaves is a small group of workhorses that get everything done. They take up all the slack from the non-performers, in addition to their own jobs. So, management finds a way to reward their hard work with end of year bonuses.

The solution is to fix the PIP and EEO system. It should be much easier to fire poor performers. You could fire 10% and actually increase gov effeciency by more than 10%.

AprilApple said...

She can alwasy get a job on CNN.

Fen said...

Management can't do much. In the fed, if you get 3 EEO complaints filed against you your career is over (even if they are all frivolous). So most managers just look the other way and let the slackabouts game the system (ie. do little work).

To elaborate - if you (Manager) counsel Affirmative Action hire (Squatter) about poor work performance, no matter how professional you do it... EEO complaint filed against you for "racism". Its created a workforce culture where managers don't risk correcting their employees.

The Drill SGT said...

Fen said...
Similar situation with friends here. They do contracts for Feds. They say the only way it could be worse is if it was GAO instead of GSA.


worse, GAO is Congress. GSA sets the rules for travel and reimbursements throughout Fed World.

bagoh20 said...
"She and her peeers are shocked at the acquisition rule breaking."

Maybe she wasn't really close enough.


my she was my Colonel Wife is is a full time Fed civilian contracts type for DHS

Tom Spaulding said...

My favorite encapsulation of the competency of State/Federal workers comes from a hiring manager at the State of Wisconsin:

"I've got all the people I'm allowed... and I'm hiring more".

Hagar said...

There seems to be rather a lot of things piling up against the Obama Administration.
Perhaps it is something at the top that is rotten?

Chip S. said...

MadisonMan said...
I enjoy the spectacle of Congressmen being outraged that money is being spent profligately. At a oversight hearing that costs money.

Do MCs get special bonus pay for holding hearings? What are these huge costs you have in mind?

Oversight is the perfect area for Dems to cut costs, I suppose.

Methadras said...

Translation: She will mourn for the rest of her life the cushy, secure, well-payed cocoon of fun she would have had.

edutcher said...

What Ted said.

The Lefties are great for demanding the Full Alinsky Grovel from anyone who disses any of their sacred groups, people, or ideas, but this broad gives us the standard Lefty, "Damn, I wish I hadn't gotten caught".

Kev said...
(the other kev)

It took a while, but it looks like this administration's found its Jamie Gorelick.

No, Ms Gorelick remains the Typhoid Mary of government. Everything she touched turned not only to waste and duplicated effort, but death and destruction.

Ms Johnson isn't even in the same species.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

After all of this "tip of the iceberg" revelation of corruption and waste in just the GSA...

Does anyone really think that if we just cut 3 to 5% off of ALL current budgets for ALL government agencies next year and then 1% each year for the next 5 years, that the world will end and women and children will starve?

Really? We can't find 5% in savings?

I guess they will have to go back to ordinary office parties with potlucks instead of spending millions on champagne fueled junkets....

Oh the inhumanity.

Lem said...

Rush was right ;)

traditionalguy said...

The games played by the GS winners of 14 and 15 ratings are all they really do during the work day.

Staying at the top requires eternal vigilance against the tricks of the up and coming GS rate seekers who are trying to get them fired or disciplined for regulation not kept in a case so that the game players will get the promotions.

The political skullduggery is intense, and only the most crafty rise and survive. It requires a withcraft like skill at underhanded manipulation.

So this lady is rightfully in shock. She probably blames herself for being the one who got fired this time.

paul a'barge said...

Here should be the rule: If you're a government employee and you take the 5th, you are immediately and summarily fired without pay.

Period. End of story. Adios and get your f'ing corrupt ass out, now.

Shanna said...

I will mourn for my life the loss of my appointment

Ha! Nice.

The only time I ever hear feds worry about spending taxpayer money is near the end of the last quarter: "if we don't use it all up, we'll get less next year".

Respectfully, I don't know how many feds you know, but many people who actually work for federal agencies are very concerned about waste of money. The problem is, they have no control over it. Rules from Washington that you buy supplies from the disabled/minority/small business that costs twice as much as walmart. Rules from on high dictate everything and the average federal employee has no control over it. Look to congress, as they dictate the way money is spent half the time.

That said, of course this was a huge waste and I'm glad they're knocking heads.

Shanna said...

What that leaves is a small group of workhorses that get everything done.

Truth. The problem is not that all feds are terrible employees, many are work very hard and try to do a good job. It's just that the ones that suck never, never go away. They get shuffled around into nothing jobs and sometimes they get freaking promotions! Understandably, all of that is bad for morale, as well.

Shanna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edutcher said...

Dust Bunny Queen said...

After all of this "tip of the iceberg" revelation of corruption and waste in just the GSA...

Does anyone really think that if we just cut 3 to 5% off of ALL current budgets for ALL government agencies next year and then 1% each year for the next 5 years, that the world will end and women and children will starve?

Really? We can't find 5% in savings?


Precisely.

Priceless ammo for the Fall campaign.

As somebody said a few years ago, "Chickens comin' home ta roost".

Who was that masked man?

Willys said...

"I will mourn for the rest of my life..." '....having made myself a victim of my own actions.'

The only just penalty for these people is requiring them to vote straight Libertarian ticket in all elections for the rest of their pathetic lives.

Fen said...

Shanna: Respectfully, I don't know how many feds you know, but many people who actually work for federal agencies are very concerned about waste of money.

I live in the DC area so I know alot of them. But perhaps I'm only hearing them outside of work, whereas you hear them worrying about waste at or thru work?

Matthew Sablan said...

More on this GSA thing, apparently, government officials under the guise of anonymity, granted by Politico, lied to Politico about cost increases. Gave out false numbers. Lied to journalists about numbers they could have verified before publishing. They did not.

How many other anonymous sources from within the administration have lied to Politico and other news sources and just not been caught?

Politico got burned, but they would not have if they verified their facts prior to reporting. The GSA mess is showing us the dark undersides of more than just the GSA. We'd never have had such a perfect lesson in journalistic laziness than the one Politico gave here.

This should be front page news: Administration lies by abusing journalist's promise of anonymity. Politico needs to state who their sources were and hang them high. They no longer deserve their identity to be protected since they gave false information.

lemondog said...

It’s not your money, it’s the taxpayers’ money

Should be emblazoned onto the forehead of every pol and bureaucrat!!!!!!

We need to have outside auditing by flash mob civilian teams

Lem said...

Bathos is an abrupt transition in style from the exalted to the commonplace, producing a ludicrous effect.

Nice catch rh.

For more bathos go here.

bagoh20 said...

"Really? We can't find 5% in savings? "

Exactly, DBQ. This amazes me too. That so many Americans accept the propaganda put out against any cuts - even cuts only in growth!

We could cut 5% without even feeling it, and probably 20% if we got serious, without hurting anyone with a real need.

All you have to do is get back to making a government job identical to a private one with the same level of pay, benefits, and hiring and firing policy. Basically make public jobs non-union, free-will employment where you can be fired easily, but your boss is paid for the performance of his organization. That's how private industry works, and it works just fine, except for the tax burden it must carry. Taxes alone reduce my employees' pay by half and that's not even counting their own taxes. The thought that all that money is sucked away from hard-working people like mine to those like these parasites at GSA is simply infuriating.

damikesc said...

I do hope that, as general policy, any government employee taking the Fifth during an investigation of what they did will be summarily dismissed from their job.

After all, you had to commit crimes for the 5th to apply to you, so why should you keep your job?

government employees shouldn't get bonuses. you want a bonus? get a job in the private sector and earn it from someone who it's theirs to give.

Heck, being almost impossible to fire is a huge bonus over any private sector job.

Does anyone really think that if we just cut 3 to 5% off of ALL current budgets for ALL government agencies next year and then 1% each year for the next 5 years, that the world will end and women and children will starve?

Really? We can't find 5% in savings?


I'd go so far as to say that if a manager cannot find 10% to cut out of their budget, they should be replaced immediately with somebody who can.

More on this GSA thing, apparently, government officials under the guise of anonymity, granted by Politico, lied to Politico about cost increases. Gave out false numbers. Lied to journalists about numbers they could have verified before publishing. They did not.

And Politico could out them --- if they wanted to. No journalist has any ethical reason to keep the identity of a liar anonymous.

Don't assume Politico MINDS being lied to. They like it.

leslyn said...

I think Johnson at least deserves the "equal time" of acknowledging that she said, before she concluded by remaking that she would mourn the loss of her appointment:

She decided to stop down because she wanted to send a message to the American people that "this was unacceptable, it was appalling and not the norm."

leslyn said...

Fen, have you ever been a Fed supervisor or manager? If you have, then your remarks:

...if you (Manager) counsel Affirmative Action hire (Squatter) about poor work performance, no matter how professional you do it... EEO complaint filed against you for "racism", and:

In the fed, if you get 3 EEO complaints filed against you your career is over (even if they are all frivolous).

show that you didn't know how to do your job.

If you haven't been a manager or supervisor in the federal system, then your remarks are just so much bullshit.

leslyn said...

Shanna said...
What that leaves is a small group of workhorses that get everything done.

Truth. The problem is not that all feds are terrible employees, many are work very hard and try to do a good job. It's just that the ones that suck never, never go away. They get shuffled around into nothing jobs and sometimes they get freaking promotions! Understandably, all of that is bad for morale, as well.

4/17/12 10:37 AM

Shanna, if you speak from personal experience, then the problem is cowardly or lazy supervisors and managers. There is no excuse for that. A manager can get rid of the dead weight just as in any other job. If they don't do it, IMO opinion they should be fired themselves.

It pisses me off that some MANAGERS game the system by being lazy or trying to court their employees.

It doesn't have to be that way, and frankly, I have personally never known one like that.

David said...

Watch for it. They are always sorry they got caught. This applies from common burglars up to the president.

Pogo said...

It cannot be said too often:

This proves the government will be AWESOME once they control healthcare, one-sixth of the economy.

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fen said...

Les: Shanna, if you speak from personal experience, then the problem is cowardly or lazy supervisors and managers.

I think you've confused my remarks as hers.

And I'm very amused at a Lefty proclaiming its cowardice to protect your livelihood from false complaints of racism. Damned if you do, damned if you don't...


There is no excuse for that. A manager can get rid of the dead weight just as in any other job. If they don't do it, IMO opinion they should be fired themselves.

Think it through. If I attempt to manage my employees, they will file false EEO complaints and end my career. Meantime (after 3 years of back and forth), the three employees I *did* put on PIP have gone to their Union and gotten it reduced. Two are being transferred to "less hostile" departments, while another is being promoted to "Senior Slackabout" at another agency.

You. Can't. Get. Rid. Of. Them.


A manager can get rid of the dead weight just as in any other job.

Wow. You really have no clue.

Shanna said...

But perhaps I'm only hearing them outside of work, whereas you hear them worrying about waste at or thru work?

I guarantee that people will say things to coworkers that they won't say outside of the office, that's for sure.

the problem is cowardly or lazy supervisors and managers

Sometimes that is the problem. You can fire people in the federal system, but it is very,very difficult. The union fights everything, and yes, sometimes managers dont' want to put up with the hassle. But this stuff happens even with people who get removed from positions because of OIG investigations, which is about as bad as it gets. People at high levels. They just get shuffled around. The consequences for firing can be severe and yes, some people won't take the trouble. But who's fault is that?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

. Rules from on high dictate everything and the average federal employee has no control over it. Look to congress, as they dictate the way money is spent half the time.

This is true. I believe there is a rule/law from Congress that all of the current budget must be spent. There is no incentive to save or be under budget.

This should be one of the first things that a new Congress should address.

Fen said...

Les: Fen, have you ever been a Fed supervisor or manager? ...If you haven't been a manager or supervisor in the federal system, then your remarks are just so much bullshit.

Am not a fed. I've gotten this from hundreds of conversations over the last 12 years with friends who work as feds in DC.

But thanks for the personal attack. The more of a bitch you become, the closer to the truth I must be getting.

Fen said...

Its the Unions, isn't it Les? You're worried that the same thing that happened in Wisconsin might happen on a federal level?

Justin said...

What that leaves is a small group of workhorses that get everything done.

Having worked for the government and now in the private sector, this statement, in my opinion, applies to both.

Shanna said...

A manager can get rid of the dead weight just as in any other job

I have worked in the private and public sector. There is a WORLD of difference in the difficulty level involved in getting rid of dead weight. Really.

Don M said...

When I was a civil servant, we had a GS-9 engineer who couldn't read. Really, he couldn't read common words.

I was the new guy. I was shocked. I was forced, to get a project done, to go to his office, and sit there, and read the documents to him. Eventually I signed the necessary documents. He wouldn't sign them.

I complained to management. Management assigned him to work under another engineer of the same race. We documented every day that he was given an assignment, and was unable to accomplish it. These assignments were simple, such as read the drawings, and put them in alphabetical order.

He did nothing. At all. Ever.

He was eventually demoted to GS-7 and transfered. But he was given a step increase so that he got an increase in pay out of it. His new job also gave him a government car. He would drive to a building, pick up drawings in a pouch, and take them to the building number that was written on the pouch. He had to do that once a day.

Don M said...

No, as an engineer, he was not represented by a union.

JorgXMcKie said...

leslyn's idiot attacks just get more amusing. Ad homs, red herrings,strawmen, you name it.

She should check the data on federal civil service firings. The average amount of time it takes to fire an employee "for cause" if that employee takes advantage of all the process allowed appears to be around 7 years.

Just sayin'.

Fen said...

What that leaves is a small group of workhorses that get everything done.

Justin: Having worked for the government and now in the private sector, this statement, in my opinion, applies to both.

Much in the same way that an ability to fly applies to both the Concorde SST and a pigeon.

/Equivalence Fail

damikesc said...

This is true. I believe there is a rule/law from Congress that all of the current budget must be spent. There is no incentive to save or be under budget.

This should be one of the first things that a new Congress should address.


Agreed, but they won't. Heck, they could cut costs by simply hiring fewer people than are retiring. One person, honestly, can do the work of 3 in most federal positions. Wait for 3 people to quit and then hire one person to replace them.

Again, I'd KILL for their level of job security. Ignoring that many also make more than I do with no need to actually produce anything.

Hagar said...

DBQ,
There is no law that says all the money must be spent; the unspent money just goes back to the Treasury.

However, if you did not spend all of the money budgeted for your agency/office this year, there obviously is no reason for you to ask for more money in next year's budget, and in fact, your budget should probably be cut.

Hagar said...

and dami,
No you would not; the effect of that environment on someone with your disposition would be to drive you nuts, unless you were ablr to get ahold of yourself and quit before you reached that point.

EDH said...

Are you sure she lost her federal job, not just her "appointment" as "GSA chief"?

damikesc said...

No you would not; the effect of that environment on someone with your disposition would be to drive you nuts, unless you were ablr to get ahold of yourself and quit before you reached that point.

I have to deal with irate people who can't use cell phones properly now for a living. I can avoid yelling at them. And I don't talk to my co-workers, so nobody bugs me.

A job where I was left alone would be a dream.

The Drill SGT said...

EDH said...
Are you sure she lost her federal job, not just her "appointment" as "GSA chief"?


In all fairness, She was a Sched C. A political appointee and an SES to boot. They don't have many Civil service protections. She did the right thing at the end. She

- suspended the 4-5 career types deeply involved like Neely ( a 30 man) These folks have full CS protections.
- fired the 2 HQ political types. They weren't protected. The PBS Deputy and a attorney advisor type that countersigned some things without sending them to the regular General Counsel contracts attorneys
- then she slit her own belly

Shanna said...
Sometimes that is the problem. You can fire people in the federal system, but it is very,very difficult. The union fights everything, and yes, sometimes managers dont' want to put up with the hassle


yeah it is, my wife the Fed lawyer and I were talking about that last night. What you can do (like the secret service story) is at the first sign of trouble:

- you send a memo to the agency adjudication folks with the data, and
- they make an interim determination to suspend or revoke the guy's security clearance,
- rendering them unemployable in their current positions and subject to a different path toward termination.

after all, us folks with clearances are supposed to report personal contacts with foreign nationals, avoid compromising circumstances, etc, etc.

What West Point demerit system used to call, "Gross Lack of Judgement", and what the UCMJ calls, Article 133, Conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman

Bill Harshaw said...

In fairness, here's her closing paragraph: "I personally apologize to the American people for the entire situation. As the head
of the Agency, I am responsible. I deeply regret that the exceedingly good work of
GSA has been besmirched. I will mourn for the rest of my life the loss of my
appointment and its role in leading a vital and important part of the government of
the United States of America." http://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/4-16-12-GSA-Johnson.pdf
So she apologizes.

Molly said...

Bill Harshaw has it right. Johnson took her job in feb 2010, heard about the western region parties in oct 2010, assigned the inspector general to write a report. Johnson's actions weren't perfect (the IG report took too long, and missed deadlines; she approved a bonus that her assistant advised against, and of course, ultimately the 2010 and 2011 parties took place on her watch). Follow the link in Harshaw's comment and read her actual testimony.

Fen said...

damikesc: A job where I was left alone would be a dream.

I think Obama is dropping Biden from the ticket. Any interest?

You'd have to say something monumentally stupid each week, but I can help you with that. ;)

damikesc said...

Did I ever tell you, Fen, that Dreams of My Father made Shakespeare seem like a not-too-bright rock in comparison? Greatest book in 1000 years.

Karla said...

>They say the only way it could be >worse is if it was GAO instead of >GSA.

This makes no sense-GAO is an oversight/investigative organization (I know, I worked there for 5 years). Comparing them to GSA is apples and oranges.

GSA's been a problem for a long time. There are still quite a few of us Feds who actually work for a living.

Fen said...

I'm not really big into fiction unless its SciFi.

Chip Ahoy said...

I'm sorry too about this person's career being messed up like that. It was tracking so cleanly and then, bump.

Ameryx said...

When I first heard her regret, I immediately recalled this scene from the movie version of M*A*S*H:
http://movieclips.com/9eQ6-mash-movie-this-is-an-insane-asylum/

Aridog said...

For those who think "Fen: is harsh, let me say, from my personal experience as a "Fed", that he's got it right on this thread. "Baghoh20" is also right on the money.

"Leslyn" ... you are hallucinating. You asked others, so I ask you: have you ever held a senior federal civil service job at the management level?

Finally, I've ranted enough in the past about issues within the federal system generally, too much in fact ... so much that I might even get very hard working people I left behind in trouble, so I'll skip the rant this time. Fen is correct, the core of worker bees supports the dolts, including those in management.

Except on thing: The SES. Johnson was a high grade SES (Senior Exectutive Service) which means she was a political appointee. If you review her work history she had almost no qualifications for the head of GSA, so little you could pick a stranger off the street and do just as well. None the less, she fit the SES mold perfectly. How so? I cannot recall a single SES'r who had any functional knowledge of the fields they oversaw ... so blatant that I wondered if SES is where the worker bees kick assholes upstairs to get them out of the way. Among the SES brainchildren, the "process" is paramount, the "product" ...uh, what's that? Get it?

The trend in senior levels now is toward "centralized management & planning" (sound familiar?) ...e.g,., RIF some lower grade worker bees to create high graded "executive" slots who will do no work, just dictate process, pushing any work of consequence down to the remaining worker bees.

BTW ... this GSA fandango was explicitly for senior managers of the process variety only. Fantasy process meet poor results.

Calypso Facto said...

An Oberlin and Yale grad. Another privileged radical lefty / Ivy Leaguer makes good in the Clinton and Obama administrations, huh?

Well at least she's got that great private industry experience: a stint at Cummins during which time they lost $300 million and 20% market share. No wonder she looked ideal to the Democratics!

leslyn said...

@Aridog:

Yes, of course.

leslyn said...

Fen said,

Think it through. If I attempt to manage my employees, they will file false EEO complaints and end my career. Meantime (after 3 years of back and forth), the three employees I *did* put on PIP have gone to their Union and gotten it reduced. Two are being transferred to "less hostile" departments, while another is being promoted to "Senior Slackabout" at another agency.

Then Fen said,

Am not a fed. I've gotten this from hundreds of conversations over the last 12 years with friends who work as feds in DC.

But thanks for the personal attack. The more of a bitch you become, the closer to the truth I must be getting.

4/17/12 11:27 AM

Which way is it, Fen? First you talk about what "you" did as a federal manager, and then you say you're not one and your knowledge comes from conversations.

Do you have any credibility?


You. Can't. Get. Rid. Of. Them.

ken in sc said...

I have personal experience with the federal civil service system. As a military officer, I had several civil service employees under my supervision from time to time. I tried to fire a problem employee who was transferred to my office because he was a problem employee at his previous office. He was incompetent and abusive to other employees. He was also a union steward and an official in the NAACP. Every time I wrote a reprimand on him, he filed a grievance against me. Someone in the civilian personnel office told me, unofficially, that they would not take any action against him because he threatened to keep them tied up in court forever if they did. It drug out until I was transferred to Korea, and he might still be there now. Even if the personnel office had followed through with my requests, the Merit System Protection Board would have most likely reinstated him. This problem has nothing to do with the courage or laziness of supervisors.

leslyn said...

@ ken:

If the problem is higher than you are, then you have all my sympathy. There is nothing you can do to force other people outside your section to do their job.

A threat to keep the employer in court is ridiculous and should be slapped down as soon as it arises. Again, there is cowardice or laziness somewhere.

ken in sc said...

leslyn, the problem goes all the way to the top. Federal Civil Service is broken.

ken in sc said...

The only reason the federal government works as good as it does is because most federal employees are not jerks and abusers. It's pretty much an honor system. Those without honor can do anything they like.

Aridog said...

leslyn said... Yes, of course

Yes, you're hallucinating,(sory, your smugness made me do that) or. yes, you've held or hold a senior management position in US Civil Service ... one where your PD specified "supervisory" such as "Supervisory Civil Engineer?" ...or what ever specialty one might have been or be in? "Senior" usually begins at GS-13 grade, with some exceptions.

Ken ... you tell the truth more or less. You answered Leslyn's assertion that it should be easier to do, when it isn't. For example, just who would do the slapping down in an environment of institutionalized problem puck passing?

Leslyn ... to continue, I managed to fire 3 civil service people during my military federal time, and and both Ken and Fen are right, each time was a battle royale ... my contrary personality helped a lot, but still a clown show. And, unquestionably it cost me in higher promotion terms (fuggedaboudit).

Next, you suggest there's not much to do if the problem is above you ...uh, perhaps, but again, I twice went around the problem above me to offices above the problem and solved the issues by having the problem arses directly ordered to cease and desist with their endeavors, by a much higher order of rank ...think two star general....or US Congressman backed by a three star general.

My actions were not conducive to a prolonged career and by retirement I was targeted I assure you by those I'd pinched. Probably pissed them off that I took advantage of a buy out offer as part of a RIF and bailed in less than 20 days, long before they could get vengeance. However, in doing so (the buy out, a pittance really)I protected the job of my most valued subordinate who was scheduled for a 3 grade reduction to a nowhere position. She, today, is a far better manager than I ever was and works just as hard as ever to boot.

I managed at lest once to do something right. She's the proof.

Aridog said...

Ken & Fen ... I forgot mention that in my time I acquired several EEO cases and formal reprimands (did I have an EEO case for those ..e.g., I'm Irish, right?) I managed to keep the reprimands separated by 2+ years and the EEO complaints were spurious .... but they succeeded in getting some money for complainants ... the worst was a a young man I called "useless" when for the umpteenth time I caught him lazing around watching someone else (paid less than him) do his work. Managed to fire him alright, but he was handed a check along with the termination papers.

When the time came I congratulated his intelligence on trading a $30+K/year job for 10% of that in a one time payment. Somehow I didn't get written up for that.

Comanche Voter said...

Jeebus--I mourn the fact that somebody didn't dropkick her through the goal posts of life---from about 80 yards out. She needed to go--ASAP.

leslyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
leslyn said...

Aridog, we have similar stories.