Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Burrowing in

This is a phrase used with federal employees where the current administration converts political appointees into permanent civil service jobs (as the SES level, meaning near or at the salary ceiling of over $100K) or "C" level (civil service grade) by redefining their position as civil service jobs, and then bypassing the required competitive selective process by appointing them based on their pre-existing experience in the position.

It's not illegal, but it's unethical at best and, in my mind, bullshit. And yes, almost all Presidents do it, including Bill Clinton (only Jimmy Carter banned this practice), but this time it really does hurt everyone. Foremost, why do republicans who complain about "excessive government" approve this when it adds to the number and costs of government employees. It also only creates conflict in the agency when real permanent employees could plan that an incompentent political appointee would be gone to discover they've been converted to the same ranks as them with a higher salary, something they never earned and don't deserve.

It also creates problems with the next administration when they have to use the civil service rules and regulations to get rid of these employees than simply showing them the door as usually happens. I don't know why a political appointee in the Bush administration would want to become a permanent employee when they know they'll be facing problems with the new boss, who could just as easily undo their position and find a way to make them resign.

It is an easy process to find these employees, simply those in the senior executive service and those in the higher civil service grades who were only recently officially hired but on staff since 2001. And the GAO tracks them too. Then all you have to do is reorgnize around their position, esentailly back to the old organization, eliminating it, and forcing them to either accept a transfer to some god-forsaken office or resign. You can even force them into a lower job if there are no equivalent jobs.

And with little permanent senority, they would be stuck. I hope the new administration has some serious conversations with these "employees", which they're not, just political hacks, many of whom were only there to impose a political agenda, about their future with the government, like, "We have some very nice offices in Fairbanks, Alaska and Fort Peck, Montana which need employees."

So all you converted political hacks, your time will come when your boss asks for a conversation about your future. And as they say, "Don't let the door hit you on the way out."

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