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Bush Holdovers

PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:00 pm
by Carol Johnson Duharat
About burrowing by the Bush appointees at the head of the Civil Service-the fact is that they would be easier to get rid of than lower levels. They are management without union protection (not that the unions want these types in them), and they can be gotten rid of. Given the quality of Bush hires, they are mostly incompetent, poorly trained, and probably obstructionist to boot, which will make them perform poorly. My impression too is that they think the wingnut welfare machine will protect them even if they openly sabotage Obama. I don't think these Regent Graduates are bright enough to realize that the right-wing money machine has several problems at once:

1) Investments. Several money angels have gone from billionaires to millionaires due to bad investments. Those who remain are aging and will soon be replaced by heirs who would rather party it up than support right-wing madness. The absence of the usual right-wing sugar daddies this election cycle was noticable. The people who funded Linda Tripp et al, aren't going to go out of their way this time.

2) Obama may reinsource a lot of the contracted out work-he has a reason to do so: economy. Federal Employees want a decent salary, but nobody is going to get a million dollar salary working for the Feds, nor do they require profit margins. Blackwater and other such boondoggles are a luxury America can no longer afford.

With the breakup of so many good companies, and the general economic environment, the Obama heads of agencies will be able to pick up superior talent pretty quickly from the private sector, which will even further limit these burrowers options further. Burrowers will either have to become honest employees or quit.

Re: Bush Holdovers

PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:20 pm
by Carol Johnson Duharat
I'm also thrilled that Homeland Security and other agencies will finally get the collective bargaining power they deserve and become truly professional. Without it that protection, long tenured Federal professional talent didn't dare even consider applying for those jobs. Crossovers from say, the FBI or the CIA who want to move up by moving to another agency aren't going to give up their bennies.

I also hope to see the end of the entire Bush boondoggle regarding Civil Service jobs. One part of my agency was contracted out, and because they can't promise permanent employment, the place has constant turnover with all of the problems that it creates. Once the contractors go bankrupt, we can once again provide real jobs for people with real work, hiring the best available.

Having Bush as President has created real problems for morale as the negative attitudes toward Civil Service trickled down management. When I worked for Clinton, the morale was much higher and people felt more appreciated. A President Obama is going to be much more friendly toward workers, and have a much more professional attitude.

Re: Bush Holdovers

PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 11:14 pm
by Ferguson Foont
I myself was something of a "burrower" once. I was a lower-level political appointee at Justice during the Carter administration, and when he was defeated, because I had worked there for quite a while, the office where I worked reorganized largely for me, and my position was eliminated and a new civil service position was created for my role. But I wasn't just permitted to slide into it. I had to COMPETE for it in an open competition, and I won it on merit (although the qualifications for the position were defined in a way that made me the odds-on favorite). My position had no political aspect to it anyhow, or so I thought. I produced statistical tables and wrote prosecutive reports, but when the Reagan Justice Department tried to make me alter -- falsify, actually -- my statistics to serve a political purpose, and then swear to their accuracy before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I ran afoul of my management and was given the choice of resigning or committing perjury. I chose the former.

But this is different. Political hacks are being slid into SES positions, including the actual administrators of offices. It is not just political APPOINTEES who are getting "burrowed," but temporary contractor personnel as well, and it is happening without even cursory screening by OPM or the Civil Service Commission. They are being done as pure lateral transfers without any regard for qualification or merit.

The problem is particularly egregious at the Departments of Labor and Agriculture. They are also taking extreme steps to cover their tracks, including the destruction of any documentation pertaining to these individuals having filled other than civil service positions in the affected agencies. The Senate is trying to make a stink about it, but all they have the power to do here is complain. Hopefully we will be able to do something about it when the new congress convenes and new top management comes into the executive branches, but the Bush Leaguers are not making it easy.

Re: Bush Holdovers

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 8:27 am
by Carol Johnson Duharat
The New crowd is coming quickly-
Janet Napolitano-Homeland Security
Eric Holder=Attorney General
Tom Daschle-Health and Human Services
Penny Pritzker-Commerce Secretary

Dean as Surgeon General?

So far I'm pretty positive about the new crowd-one regret about Napolitano is that her Republican Secretary of State will become Governor for two years,and the best candidate Arizona has to oust John McCain is now gone.

I suppose she could serve for about a year and go run against McCain, but still...
Well, the netroots have a task to do, helping a promising Arizona Democrat take on the Republican in 2010.

As part of the netroots, I hear a lot of whining about the "moderate" tendencies of Obama's appointments. At this point even old-style Democratic "accomodation" is ten times better than Bush-style policies. I can trust the new crew to not make things worse and manage the Government at a minimum. None of these guys seem to be egomaniacs either regarding ideology and policy.

Also, these people have to get through confirmation, and it doesn't help to grandly promise massive changes before the hearings, which would set off the alarms of people who need to be lulled.

Re: Bush Holdovers

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 1:58 pm
by Ferguson Foont
At first I thought Janet Napolitano was a rather odd pick until I found out that she's term-limited. I didn't want to lose a popular Democratic governor in a red state, but we're going to anyhow so this may be OK.

One of the most interesting things going on right now concerns Secretary of State. It seems that Hillary Clinton really wants this position bad and that her organization is the source of all these rumors going around. None of it is coming out of the Obama camp, and I think he's getting really pissed at all the manipulation of the news media, particularly CNN and CBS, concerning her ambition to head State. I honestly don't think that Obama ever had her under even the remotest consideration.

I really don't think he has any intention of naming her to that post despite the unwelcome pressure. I think that his main concern now is to make his pick, which he probably has already done, in a way that allows her to save face after this push and to avoid having it characterized as a snub. I can think of any number of Democrats who would be a better choice at State, starting with miracle peacemaker Jimmy Carter, and going on to Al Gore, George Mitchell, and maybe even Colin Powell (who, having already held the post, certainly would top the merit list on paper). Even Jesse Jackson (Sr.) would be a better pick, particularly considering the nations presenting the greatest challenges at State.

I can just hear the screams of the Israel lobby now!

Hillary's Drama

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 8:35 pm
by Carol Johnson Duharat
One thing it's clear: the Clinton crowd don't know how to do this sort of thing in a way that would reassure Obama that they had the diplomatic skills necessary for the job. The other Cabinet jobs named handled the whole thing quietly without fuss. If the Clintons had skill, they would basically be "no comment" until there was a decision made. Bill would hand over the necessary papers for vetting, Hillary would go about her business, demurring comments about any deal. But instead, they leak constantly to the press and make such a fuss that one wonders how they would handle the secrets that would be entrusted to them in diplomatic situations. Diplomatics need to the discreet and pretty low-key in demeanor.

I hope Kerry gets a shot.