The Aldrich Alert
Gary Aldrich

A Publication of the Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty

Is It Safe?

November 8, 2002

by Gary Aldrich - Volume 2, Issue 48

This article appeared at Townhall.com on November 06, 2002

If you could conduct a survey of current and former federal employees, I'm certain you'd find that they agree on one thing: There is too much "deadwood" in the ranks of the federal employees.

President Bush tried to get rid of lazy, burned out, incompetent, uncaring or corrupt federal employees when he set about to establish a Homeland Security Department, but he met solid resistance from leftist union-loving Democrats who claim that if Bush can hire, fire or promote federal employees on merit alone, we'll be "headed back to the bad old days."

Most of us are realistic enough to realize that these are the bad old days.

So far, September 11, 2001, was the worst of the bad old days, and many mistakes leading up to that date were made by employees who were hired, and oftentimes promoted, for all the wrong reasons. But worse days are headed our way if the dire predictions of numerous intelligence experts are to be believed.

A combination of affirmative action programs, driven by hiring quotas, along with the installation of rigid, politically correct "management," guarantees mediocre federal employee performance. Moreover, these conditions are so well known that few are brave enough to argue against this claim.

They know all evidence points in the opposite direction, and yet, Democrats fight to protect the status quo. Why?

In times of peace, such a social experiment in our federal government - really a luxury - might be tolerable. In time of war, who can justify it? Would we use these same lax rules to staff our hospital operating rooms? Would we force commercial airlines to hire pilots because of the color of their skin, their national origin, their religion or their gender and ignore ability and skill in favor of some warm, fuzzy feeling brought about by hiring a favored minority applicant to meet a hiring quota?

When they failed to meet minimal expectations, would we find creative ways to keep them employed in order to avoid criticism or lawsuits?

Many statistics support my position. It was recently reported that while more than 80,000 federal employees were found to be performing at an unacceptable level, only a few hundred could actually be fired. When a career in the federal government can be as long as 40 years, one can readily see how "deadwood" accumulates.

In these dangerous days, too much "deadwood" can result in many dead citizens!

Those of us who have worked in the federal agencies can testify to the many high performing, outstanding minority employees who were hired because of their own accomplishments. To hire and keep less than qualified persons to meet a quota is not only dangerous and wasteful, but it's an insult to the minorities who have risen up through the ranks with ability and good old-fashioned hard work. I believe they would be the first to complain, if only they could! Everyone knows that whistleblowers are punished by their own agencies, so don't expect too many to come forward today.

Ironically, one recent example of political abuse was masterminded by Democrats Hillary Clinton, now a U.S. senator, and her husband, the president. They not only publicly humiliated and fired White House Travel manager Billy Dale - who had served many presidents - and his entire staff, but they called in the FBI and IRS to harass them!

Today there are many laws on the books that allow abused federal employees recourse through the civil courts. In aggravated cases, criminal laws can apply. To say there are not enough protections for federal employees is an outright lie. Not only are there enough protections, but there are also the media and whistleblower protection groups to call attention to abuse, if it's legitimate.

I would submit that instead of hobbling the entire executive branch with arcane and useless "protections" for do-nothing federal employees, Democrats might take a lesson from Republican leaders who know not only how to maintain high morale, but also how to generate hard work and loyalty from their staff.

It's widely reported that when Bill and Hillary Clinton finally left the White House, White House staff - who are among the federal employees that I'm talking about - cried with joy! That joy continued when George W. Bush and Laura, along with former President Bush and Barbara, walked back into the White House on January 20, 2001.

And as of today, Democrats are in charge of the U.S. Senate. They have formed a "blockade" to stop Bush from returning excellence to the federal ranks. Will that circumstance change tomorrow? Well, if the American voters know how their precious votes translate into a better quality of federal government employee, which in turn guarantees a safer nation because of better national security programs - then we should see a different political landscape tomorrow. If not, learn how to duck and cover!

I know that many federal workers visit the website where this article will be posted, so, tell me what you think. Do you think that my friends and I are correct in alleging that the federal workforce is riddled with incompetence and ought to be overhauled?

Or do you think the feds and their agencies are as good as they can ever be?

If you are a current or former federal employee, I would like you to send an e-mail telling me whether you think I'm right or wrong. Cite examples, and in a future column I'll give a report about what I've been told.

This is my prediction: If the Democrats maintain control of the U.S. Senate, get used to living in dangerous times.

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