More From the Government Man – What You See (and Hear) is Not Always What You Get

Today’s blog is a little less on humor and more on commentary. Consider it a primer for interpreting some of the political fluff the public will be subject to in this election year.

Those who have read my book, Confessions of a Government Man, or listened to my meanderings, know that I have an absolute disdain for orchestrated comments coming from politicians and government agencies (which are run by politicians). Nothing that I state in my book is truer than the discussion of language in government and how easy it is to twist or omit a few words and totally change the meaning of a statement. In PR parlance it’s call “putting a spin” on something. In my book I state, “To put a spin on something means to lie.” The combination of politics and public relations can be lethal when it comes to misleading the public.

One example I gave concerned how a high level political appointee did everything imaginable to put a positive spin on what was a costly situation for the government. This concerned a major politically driven change order to a mega-construction project. The excerpt below was modified a bit for brevity and to accommodate a family audience.

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“This same administration wanted to make a splash over how the Government saved money when the scope of the 290 Broadway construction project was modified. The politically appointed deputy administrator came to the site, spent three minutes getting briefed about this billion dollar project, told us everything we did wrong and then wanted to know how much money we saved by reducing the scope. No matter how many times I and my project engineer tried to explain that although we negotiated a $10 million credit, this was a project already fully designed and under construction so that the actual value in the original bid of the work to be deleted was in the vicinity of $20 million. The $10 million credit was actually a $10 million expense for which nothing will now be received. To top that off, there was more than $30 million in related modifications to accommodate the redesign of the building. When all was said and done, the $10 million ‘savings’ was a $40 million expense. The administration still thinks it saved the government money”

This, my friends is but one example of how things aren’t always what they appear to be.

For my next blog I will get back to humor.

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For more about the Government Man, feel free to check out my Facebook page (If you like it please click the “Like” icon), prior Govloop blogs and my website,

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