Forum Replies Created
July 7, 2014 at 3:47 pm #182562
I’m retired now and I can’t say I was the greatest when dealing with the media. I dealt more with print media and off-camera TV investigative reporters. I’ll relate two anecdotes as advice.
I had a habit of writing tongue-in-cheek commentary in the margins of correspondence. One of my pungent comments was picked up in a document which was part of a FOIA request. It ended up on national TV. Very embarrassing. Remember that anything on paper can conceivably be a public document.
The other incident concerned an extensive interview by a rather flighty reporter. I happened to make what I thought was humorous comment after the interview which was just marginally related to the subject matter. That ended up as the only quote she used. Also embarrassing. Remember that an investigative reporter is not your friend no matter how charming they can be. Also, everything that you say is “on the record.”
For more pithy commentary check the link to my blogs on my website.http://www.thegovernmentman.com
February 21, 2013 at 5:11 am #63995
Early in my management career I made a dubious choice for chief of a newly established budget branch. It was a disaster. The chief became known as Houdini for the ways he made money disappear and reappear. My crusty old advisor and senior boss told me, “You can’t make an accountant out of a longshoreman.” He was right. This was a variation of another x-rated expression we’ve heard. Something about chicken salad.
December 28, 2012 at 5:37 pm #175037
Let’s remember how we got in this situation to start. It was because our dysfunctional Congress couldn’t craft a budget – so they did the usual. Delay the problem until after the election and obscure the issue in language which, when it comes time for action, puts nobody in particular to blame and transfers responsibility for execution of the plan. Does anyone remember who was on that blue ribbon panel which failed to come up with a budget?
My gut feeling as a crusty old fed who has been around a long time is that we will see more of the same. Smoke, mirrors, vague language and a stopgap solution which someone will have to address later.
December 1, 2012 at 4:10 am #173689
A wise early boss of mine once said “Where you sit is where you stand.” What you are saying about working together (or in some cases, not together, sounds a bit like our Congress.
Seriously though, of the agencies you cite, EPA is regulatory, The others are operational but which must comply with EPA guidelines. I don’t believe they “step on each others toes.” It is more likely that they complement each other.
Hope this helps. Good luck.
October 5, 2012 at 7:13 pm #170334
Always good to hear from you Terry. You are right. The “virtual” program is a scandal unto itself and probably one of the most abused employee benefit programs in government. When I wrote “Confessions” it was intented as fun, not a tell-all, but I mentioned some programs like this and how they were abused, never anticipating that it would become a national scandal. The business that CNN reported a few weeks back was only the tip of the iceberg – in fact what they missed is probably more significant than what they reported.
October 5, 2012 at 3:28 pm #170338
Yes, there was definite fallout. A culture change about conferences was overdue but this caused overkill, something that the hospitality industry will no doubt lobby their representatives about. The point I was getting at, however, was all of the blowhard threats and predictions from the IG and some elected officials about ramifications. So far no criminal charges – probably because there is no evidence. No move to make GSA go away (GSA delivers a lot of pork and photo ops for elected officials and really does serve an important business function). The last Senate hearing was a love-in. I have maintained all along that this should not have been a political and media frenzy but was something which could have been corrected internally.
June 12, 2012 at 5:04 pm #163693
A highly ineffective person will take the most clear cut, obvious, no-brainer decision and find a reason why it shouldn’t be done.
Similarly, the same person will practice the “goal line stand.” When a job or plan is 90% complete, find a way to obstruct the remaining 10%.
April 25, 2012 at 2:33 am #159332
Hah! I’m showing my age with Parkinson’s Law.
April 24, 2012 at 7:36 pm #159338
April 24, 2012 at 3:19 pm #159342
This is Parkinson’s Law at it’s best. The numbers are low in relation to the average scandal so people can relate to it and pick it to pieces. I just posted on You Tube my opinion of this whole scandal. It’s similar to my blog posts on GovLoop but slightly more colorful language.
April 9, 2012 at 8:34 pm #158310
This was a political hatchet job gone wild. See my blog post today under The Governmenent Man for my blunt opinion of this fiasco. Yes, there was some poor judgment here but the real issue is the attempt at political sabotage which is now haunting the agency. No amount of bs from pr types will alleviate this.
It is now strictly damage control and sweeping it away with arbitrary and possibly illegal actions will not solve it. GSA has to methodically explain what the problem is (and not in the inflammatory terms of the IG freport), what management controls are being established and who, if anyone, made mistakes in judgment so severe as to warrant disciplinary. Not find people to use as scapegoats and then say everything is fine.
The events surrounding the IG report remind me of thre final scene in Godfather I. First a massacre and siezure of power, then “All family business has been taken care of.” (Or wording to that effect – I don’t remember the exact words))
February 29, 2012 at 6:31 pm #153779
Amen. I might have added that the federal employees administer, enforce and unfortunately also litigate the work of our Congress and that federal employees often have the power, authority and ability to make or break an elected official. They should be seeking our support – not the other way around.
February 22, 2012 at 4:22 pm #153827
I think the caption should be the other way around. How can we help federal employees (and all other American citizens) have a better perception of Congress? Their popularity is at an all-time low. As a retired senior exec at GSA I saw more pork come through Congress than the Boers Head factory – and it was the capable and loyal federal employees who constantly made our legislators look good and enabled them to take credit for completed projects in their districts, even if they originated during someone else’s tenure. Ironically, the bureaucracy grows because the Congress keeps passing laws, some of which have convoluted provisions unrelated to the original bill but included to buy support. With each law comes a need for people to administer, execute and sometimes litigate.
To get back to the original question – the key word is probably “perception” because neither the Congress nor most Americans really know what most federal employees do except when there is negative publicity. The bottom line is results. Each agency has mandated goals and to meet or exceed goals leaves no room for argument.
December 26, 2011 at 3:33 am #147798
1964 Ford Falcon – It was their fancy model, if you could call it that – leather seats, AC, nice trim. But still a small economy car. Good for New York City area driving.
October 3, 2011 at 11:02 pm #142671
I’m retired now but I’ve been hearing things like this for nearly fifty years. The “government worker” is an easy target for media, our Congress and anyone else seeking some inflammatory publicity. This will never change. It comes with the territory.
If and when our Congress becomes a functional organization, rather than a polarized, untrustworthy mob with differing agendas and a greater interest in what their constituents think of them rather than the nation’s needs, there will be a return of credibility. I wish I knew how to do this.
I would like to see a few members of Congress stand up to voice their real opinions and not vote strictly party lines. I would like to hear a member say something like, “Yes, we should close some unneeded Post Offices in my district,” or “No, we don’t need that new federal construction project in my district.” That will be the day. I would also like to hear a member say something like “This legislation you are asking me to vote on contains too many giveaways unrelated to the purpose of the bill (but inducements to buy votes),” or “How can I vote for legislation that the majority of Congress has never read (i.e. health care).” Finally, I would like to see some members make sacrifices consistent with what they are requesting of the American people.
I’ve long since learned that almost every statement coming from an elected official is orchestrated. Congress, not the federal employee, needs its own image makeover.
(OK – I feel better now.) http://www.thegovernmentman.com