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Federal Employees News Digest : Oct. 15, 2012
INSIGHT by Mike Causey continued from page 1 Kristi Dougherty General Manager Phil Piemonte Managing Editor Sherkiya Wedgeworth Online Managing Editor Becky Fenton Circulation Manager Nathan Abse Writer Mike Causey Columnist Edward Zurndorfer Columnist Published by 1105 Government Information Group, Anne Armstrong, President. 1105 Government Information Group is part of 1105 Media, Inc. Neal Vitale, CEO. Corporate Headquarters: 1105 Media, Inc. 9201 Oakdale Ave., Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311 www.1105media.com Office: 8609 Westwood Center Drive, Suite 500 Vienna, VA 22182-2215 Phone: Editorial: (703) 891-8554 Subscriptions: (800) 989-3363 Fax: (703) 876-5130 Internet: www.FederalDaily.com Subscription Rates: 1 year---$99 Site Licenses are available: E-mail: FENDsitelicense@ FederalDaily.com For single article reprints (in minimum quantities of 250-500), e-prints, plaques and posters contact: PARS International Phone: (212) 221-9595 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.magreprints.com/QuickQuote.asp The Comptroller General has ruled that federal agen- cies and departments may buy Federal Employees News Digest publications with government funds. This decision is No. B-185591. Federal Tax ID 20-4583700. DUNS #612031414. FEDERAL EMPLOYEES NEWS DIGEST (ISSN 1065-0970) is published weekly except first week in January and last week in December by 1105 Media, Inc., 9201 Oakdale Avenue, Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311. Annual subscription rate is: US $99. Subscription inquiries and customer service: Mail to: Federal Employees News Digest, PO Box 15428, N. Hollywood, CA 91615-5428, customerservice@feder- aldaily.com or call (800) 989-3363, fax (818) 487-4550. © Copyright 2012 by 1105 Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproductions inwhole or part prohibited except by written permission. Mail requests to "Permissions Editor," c/o Federal Employees News Digest, 8609 Westwood Center Drive, Suite 500, Vienna, VA 22182-2215 or editor@ federaldaily.com. The information in this newsletter has not undergone any formal testing by 1105 Media, Inc. and is dis- tributed without any warranty expressed or implied. Implementation or use of any information contained herein is the reader's sole responsibility. While the information has been reviewed for accuracy, there is no guarantee that the same or similar results may be achieved in all environments. Technical inaccuracies may result from printing errors and/or new develop- ments in the industry. This publication's subscriber list, as well as other lists from 1105 Media, Inc., is available for rental. For more information, please contact our list manager, Merit Direct. Phone: (914) 368-1000; E-mail: 1105media@ meritdirect.com; Web: www.meritdirect.com/1105. October 15, 2012 Vol. 62, No. 14 2 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com they had never happened before---or at least before the all-seeing eye of YouTube. So what's next in the look-what-these- government-clowns-are-doing hit parade? My guess is it will either be a credit card abuse scandal (which happens every couple of years) or somebody will (once again) crunch the numbers and conclude that gov- ernment workers can't be fired. That once they take the oath, they are tenured for life. And then some. It may be a newspaper (TV is too lazy) that rediscovers fire (as in "you can't fire a federal worker"). More likely it will be a think tank which does the work, then disseminates its product to the media. Whoever does it, all they have to do is look at the number of firings---I think they are called involuntary separations in govern- ment---and see how few there are. It is then easy to conclude that nobody, or hardly any- body, ever gets fired. Especially if that is what you thought (and wanted to confirm) before doing the research. Also, it is true, and yet... I have had seven major employers (so far) in my "career." That includes two news- papers, two radio stations and some other media outlets. One of the employers fired people all the time. Somebody was always "leaving to pursue other interests" which were never specified---because they had no job waiting and no prospects. The footprint on their rear was clearly visible. One publication fired the entire editorial staff (save me and my assistant) the week before Christmas. We were gracefully given a couple of months to job hunt and get our acts together. One radio station changed formats and fired EVERYBODY, including me. But I got a nice severance payment. And since we all got the ax, there was no stigma. One place, perhaps the most complex and largest of all, never fired anybody. Yet turnover among its mostly young, excellent staff, was high. Because it was---still is---at the top of the media food-chain, there was almost no other place to go, except down. Yet people left all the time, most often to "return to their first love," which was a code phrase for "unemployment." So how did it get rid of employees? Two ways... * First, by judicious use of the probation period. I forget whether it was a year or six months. But during that time a lot of people bit the dust. The union could not defend them. They came, and then were gone with the wind. * Second, by driving them nuts. Most of the victims were long-time employees who could have made a good case with the union, or in court, that they were the victims of some form of discrimination, mostly age discrimination. Unless they resigned, which most did. The idea was to find out what they hated most then give it to them. If you preferred working days, you were put on the night shift. If you hated local politics, you were put on the beat alongside other reporters who could, and did, made you look pathetic. If you were claustrophobic, you might get a windowless, coffin-like office. Or nothing to do. Until you cracked, as many, many did. I have a long-time friend, retired now, who was a fed with OPM, DEA and USDA for many years. He is extremely smart, was well-respected in his field---which included HR---and he stays current. Using the above examples, I outlined a brilliant theory for him: That the govern- ment probably fires a lot of people during the probationary period, when it doesn't show. I was so proud of myself. Then he told me I was full of crap. He said it is almost impos- sible to fire anybody in government. That he himself had tried and, at least once, been told to cease and desist by his boss. He said there are too many rules, too many appeals and too many ways that employees---even the most incompetent---can hang onto their jobs, and make life difficult for the persons who are trying to fire them, even if they richly deserve it. I checked with another long-time HR type. She's high up and is still on the job. She surprised me because she essentially said the same thing as my disgruntled, retired, friend. She also said that if I quoted her---which I wouldn't have---she would deny it. So... Are they both right, or did I just catch two people on a bad day? Meantime, back to the drawing board.
Oct. 8, 2012
Oct. 22, 2012