Betsy McCaughey: Ending the federal worker gravy train
Back in 1883, Congress passed the Pendleton Act to replace patronage with a federal civil service in which workers would be hired and paid based on merit.
The regional director overseeing the Pittsburgh VA collected a $63,000 award in 2012 shortly after six veterans treated there died needlessly from legionella, an infection traced directly to poor maintenance of the facility.
But merit no longer matters.
Take the Environmental Protection Agency worker making $125,000 a year who spent hours a day watching pornography.
The answer is that firing a federal worker is almost impossible, and making it stick, even less likely.
Incredibly, most federal departments have even laxer standards than the VA. Jeff Neely, the General Services Administration employee pictured in a hot tub sipping wine on taxpayer money, retired with benefits after the lavish 2010 Las Vegas boondoggle he attended was uncovered in the media. Two co-workers were fired but reinstated with back pay after appealing to the “merit” system’s protection board, which protects everything but merit.
A worker with a high-school education earns 21 percent more working for the federal government than for a private employer, and gets 72 percent more in benefits. A worker with a bachelor’s degree also makes out better with Uncle Sam, getting about the same wages as in the private sector but 46 percent more in benefits.
In addition, the federal workplace offers 10 paid holidays, plus 13 to 26 days annual vacation (depending on longevity) and up to 13 paid sick days a year.
That’s easy street. Meanwhile, taxpayers are on the Road to Serfdom, working longer and paying more to support a government that does not serve them.
Betsy McCaughey is a former lt. governor of New York and author of Beating Obamacare 2014.
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