Wednesday, August 3, 2011

They'll Get My Job When They Pry It From My Cold Dead Fingers

The national unemployment rate is upwards of 9%. Mass layoffs were just announced in the past week, and that trend is likely to continue if economic growth does not start to pick up speed.

But there's one sector of the economy where employment is not only booming, but once you get a job there you are practically guaranteed it for life.
How secure are federal workers’ jobs? According to a recent USA Today study, death is the leading cause of job loss in 15 federal agencies.

The federal government laid off or fired 0.55 percent of its workforce, according to USA Today – about one sixth of the firing/layoff rate in the private sector. A pair of agencies, the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission, did not fire or lay off a single worker in the budget year that ended September 30, despite employing roughly 3,000 workers between them.

Federal workers based in Washington DC were least likely to be fired or laid off – only 0.26 percent lost their jobs.

A spokesperson from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which fired or laid off only 0.15 percent of its workforce, attributed the low turnover rate to the extraordinarily high quality of HUD employees. “We’ve never focused on firing people, and we don’t intend to start now,” the spokesman told USA Today. “We’re more focused on hiring the right people.”

If private employers would put the time and effort into hiring the right people, in other words, their turnover rates might be comparable.
Yeah, right. The government does a much better job of finding and hiring exceptional workers than the private sector. Just like, for example, the government does a better job of buying toilets... 
Uncle Sam paid $1.49 million to replace 36 malodorous chemical toilets with a "sweet smelling toilet facility" in Denali National Park in Alaska.
That's over $41,000 per toilet. I'd like to see the private sector match that.

The government also puts the private sector to shame when it comes to monitoring credit card usage.
A GAO audit classified nearly half of all purchases on government credit cards as improper, fraudulent, or embezzled. Examples of taxpayer-funded purchases include gambling, mortgage payments, liquor, lingerie, iPods, Xboxes, jewelry, Internet dating services, and Hawaiian vacations. In one extraordinary example, the Postal Service spent $13,500 on one dinner at a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, including "over 200 appetizers and over $3,000 of alcohol, including more than 40 bottles of wine costing more than $50 each and brand-name liquor such as Courvoisier, Belvedere and Johnny Walker Gold." The 81 guests consumed an average of $167 worth of food and drink apiece.
So with examples like those, it's easy to believe that the government is much better at hiring "extraordinarily high quality" workers.

Some other interesting facts about federal employment:
... nearly 60% of firings occur in the first two years of employment, mostly workers on probation and outside the federal job protection system. Blue-collar workers are twice as likely to be fired as white-collar employees.

White-collar federal workers have almost total job security after a few years on the job. Last year, the government fired none of its 3,000 meteorologists, 2,500 health insurance administrators, 1,000 optometrists, 800 historians or 500 industrial property managers.

The nearly half-million federal employees earning $100,000 or more enjoyed a 99.82% job security rate in 2010. Only 27 of 35,000 federal attorneys were fired last year. None was laid off. Death claimed 33.
33 dead attorneys is a good start, but it's not near enough. There is no way on God's green Earth that 99+% of government workers are performing at an acceptable level.

I can think of at least 535 people in D.C. alone that should be fired.

Oops ... make that 537...

1 comment:

Old NFO said...

Yeah, but there are more than a few that SHOULD be fired... Of course as soon as you do that, the lawsuits start... and they can drag on for years.