"The failings in our civil service are encouraged by a system that makes it very difficult to fire someone even for gross misconduct."
John McCain on Wednesday, March 21st, 2007 in Oklahoma City.
You can fire federal workers, but it's tough
It is perhaps not a surprise that a union offical disputes McCain's use of the incompetent federal worker cliche. Procedures do exist to remove workers from their jobs, and many people do get fired.
But it takes a long time, according to the outside experts who follow such issues closely. McCain wisely faults not an individual but a "system." That puts him on pretty solid ground, where even a study by the federal government had difficulty finding supervisors who had attempted to take action against poorly performing employees.
Published: Saturday, September 1st, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.
Subjects: Federal Budget
Sources:National Treasury Employees Union, email interview with Colleen M. Kelley.
Interviews with Paul Light, a professor of public service at New York University, Don Kettl at the University of Pennsylvania and John Palguta of the Partnership for Public Service.
Poor Performers in Government: A Quest for the True Story U.S. Office of Personnel Management Office of Merit Systems Oversight and Effectiveness, January 1999.
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