Monday, December 30, 2013

Employees of the federal government: You're not fired. Ever.

Not only do federal employees enjoy higher pay than private sector workers, are eligible for pensions, and don't really have toil that hard, they are impossible to fire.

From James Richardson in National Review Online:
Job security in America’s civil service is so remarkably strong that employees in more than a dozen federal agencies are statistically more likely to die in the course of their work than to lose their jobs for poor performance or misconduct.

These days, even advocating genocide doesn't immediately qualify you for a pink slip.

The current civil-service regime, installed in part in the late 19th century as a response to rampant political patronage, makes the process of removing underachievers from the government’s massive 2.1-million-person payroll so tedious that most federal managers rubber-stamp deadbeat employees rather than pursue a year-long termination process.

Even so, no period in the 35 years since Congress last augmented federal civil-service protections to provide for administrative tribunals has produced as many instances of gross employee misconduct, from lavish employee conferences to the targeting of political groups deemed hostile by tax officials, as the previous twelve months.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We don't have to work that hard? Really? Please describe what data you used to come ip with this blanket conclusion.

You tell a federal wildland firefighter that they don't work hard when they're working all summer and fall with little time off, wearing heavy equipment in 100+ degree weather and putting out fires to protect people and our natural resources.

I and many co-workers actually believe in our agency's mission and we work hard every day because of that belief -- and because we have ethics about working and getting paid for that work. We aren't allowed to get overtime, haven't for a few years because of budget issues, but we put the hours in anyway because the work still needs to get done. Not everyone does that, of course. Other employees put in an honest days work for their pay, no more, no less. Some don't work hard, but that gets to my last point in my last paragraph.

Yes, we get paid well and I am grateful for that. But we are not paid more than the private sector. The lower grade employees like secretaries may be paid better than the private sector in some cases, but the higher grade positions that require degrees do not.

And we get a pension. So? I will get 1 percent for every year I work. If I retire with 30 years, at a higher grade level even, I will get a pension of $25,000/year. I contribute a small part of every paycheck to that pension. We have a 401-k style plan that the government will match our contributions up to 5%. Yet more from my paycheck for that. And then of course, I'll have social security (I don't count on that), which I pay for in every paycheck. I'm not complaining, I signed up for that 24 years ago and I've been putting as much as I can into my 401-k style plan so I will be able to retire comfortably along with the pension.

The only point on which you are semi-correct is the firing issue. I have seen people fired for misconduct. But the worse problem is not firing people for continuous poor performance. Unfortunately, those people are just moved around into other positions and the rest of us who do our jobs well have to make up for their lack of performance. That is frustrating. Luckily these people are not the norm. Not that means its right, but at least it's not a rampant problem.

Somehow I don't think my words will change your mind, but then that would be pre-judging you, wouldn't it? So I'll just hope this will give you a different perspective to consider when making statements about federal employees in the future.