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Federal Employees News Digest : Feb. 11, 2013
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: email@example.com 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 2013 by 1105 Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproductions or distribution in whole or part prohibited except by site license or reprint purchase. 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. February 11, 2013 Vol. 62, No. 28 2 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com the rest of us don't do as they say we should. We've all been there, especially if you are a parent. You tell the kids not to do stuff you did all the time. But it turns out that the government back here at headquarters is pushing to eliminate fried foods, period, in cafete- rias---and substitute more healthful foods, like veggies. Visualize a plate of kale and carrots. And the White House is watching. Although some people see this as the work of an overbearing Nanny State, many would agree that discouraging people from bad habits, like smoking at work and eating lard sandwiches, is a good thing. Good for individuals, for health care costs, for the nation. Up to a point ... But the government needs to be careful where it herds people, especially captive federal workers, in the name of good health. Take your waistline. Please. During the 1990s, a very well-meaning director of the Office of Personnel Management decided, with the best of intentions, to encourage her employees to exercise more and lose weight. She had come from academia, and from another fast-paced type-A federal agency. She told friends and associates she was shocked at how many OPM workers were overweight or obese. And this was in the 1990s, when nearly all of us were a lot slimmer and trimmer than we are---as individuals and a nation---today. She launched a campaign encouraging exercise, on the clock; more nutritious food at the cafeteria; and a greater gen- eral awareness of health. She encouraged employees to go next door to the Interior Department, which had a free, state-of- the-art fitness facility. Great idea, right? Wrong! Guess what? The Slim-Fast hit the fan! She was immediately attacked by several women's groups, who went to the media and protested at the office. She received delegation after delega- tion of angry workers who said she was insulting, way out of line, and possibly a racist, too. Overweight men, on the other hand, seemed to ignore the entire thing---from eating better to exercising more---according to people who were there at the time. The director, who had taught at a couple of Ivy League universities, worked in the White House and held other top jobs, was flabbergasted at the response. She thought she was doing good, but instead found herself apologizing to employees, explaining that her intentions were honorable, and canceling the good health campaign. She spent most of the rest of her career trying to live down--- and forget---the incident. Fortunately for her, she moved on and currently sits on many boards and earns a very comfortable living. As a personal aside, I knew her, knew people who knew her, and I found she was one of the brightest, kindest and nicest people I've known. If she had a mean bone in her body, it didn't show. And she was not overweight. But she learned a very hard lesson about helping people and about using feds (even for the best of reasons) as guinea pigs. Before smoking was officially declared as evil, and banned in federal build- ings, the secretary of Health and Human Services---himself a former smoker--- used to roam the HHS headquarters building, sniffing for smoke. He would go into an office (where smoking was permitted) and berate the poor, if mis- guided, smoker regardless of rank. While he was technically wrong, nobody chal- lenged him. So was he doing the right thing, but just ahead of his time? Or was he a despotic do-gooder? Timing may be everything. The White House isn't likely to get much flak because of the First Lady's emphasis on exercise and weight control. But some top federal officials may get some major blowback if they push the eat-healthy campaign too hard.
Feb. 4, 2013
Feb. 18, 2013