Donna L. Quesinberry
In the federal government this seems especially difficult to consider. Federal employment differs radically from private sector or civilian employment. In working federal contracts on-site at varied Agencies / Services, viewing federal employment practices through an external observation lens it has been clear to me and other contractors an underlying inability to remedy misgivings of subordinate personnel exists in the federal sector. “Some” things such as earnest EEO and EEOC practices remain voids and life-long or career fed employees seem to feel it prudent not to present grievances, etc. There is a very clear distinction between lower grade personnel and higher grade personnel as well as capabilities to voice opines or act as free agents without a long trail of approvals or disapprovals and oversights, which normally seems to convene on the side of higher grade employees.
The hierarchy in federal employment is the strongest anywhere with a law firm being a close second. It is somewhat reminiscent of a caste system; however, the flip side of this is the support system within the federal employment is the strongest anywhere, which a law firm typically has for only lawyers. If you have an illness, death or situation federal employment is a great benefit. If you have a strong opinion or work-related injustice – it is a bastion to your career.
Due to the hierarchical underpinnings in the federal sphere, Whistleblowing seems essential to effective management controls. For instance, the recent closure of the BTA (Business Transformation Agency) formerly the BMMP (Business Management and Modernization Program) was due to numerous Whistleblowers regarding overspending, illegal internal politics (resulting in all sorts of deviant means to displace or place federal staff), mismanagement of programmatics for personal gain, inability of subordinates to voice opinions, etc. These Whistleblowers filed with the DoDIG (Department of Defense Inspector General) and the OSC (Office of Special Counsel) and finally Secretary Gates pronounced a closure due to fraud, abuse, and waste. Had there been an ability to post-grievances and be heard without retribution within this organization, work could have been completed and continued to aid the future of the DoD and managed in case-by-case fashion, but whenever anyone presented a grievance – the matter would result in their own dismissal or a move, etc.
Whistleblowing and grievance procedures should be opened up to contractors who remain on a physical site over a long-term. Often the companies placing them on a federal site are only concerned with impressing the government because their bread and butter comes from them – an injustice is the result.
Whistleblowing is essential to ensure tyranny and abuse do not occur – this may be a sad reality, but it is a reality nonetheless.
Donna L. Quesinberry
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