Skip to comments.Millions spent on AWOL, ‘standby’ workers while others brace for furlough
Posted on 03/27/2013 2:56:58 PM PDT by Ron C.Edited on 03/27/2013 3:01:48 PM PDT by Admin Moderator. [history]
While the federal government prepares to furlough workers in critical agencies starting next month, it's spending millions of dollars on employees who are "absent without leave" or simply showing up to work on "standby."
In other words, complains one senator, workers "being paid to do nothing."
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., is now urging the government to crack down on this alleged waste, saying targeting these workers could yield billions of dollars in savings -- and even avert some furloughs.
"It makes little sense to furlough air traffic controllers and border patrol agents while retaining employees who are AWOL, on standby, not performing official duties, or sitting idle awaiting security clearances," Coburn wrote in a letter Wednesday to John Berry, director of the Office of Personnel Management.
I have personally observed buildings full of desks with working phones and COBWEBS on 2 and 3 foot stacks of papers on hundreds of desks on a single floor, and the same on multiple floors within many different local government buildings in Los Angeles.
How did I see so much of this? I was often sent to these buildings to repair telephones as an AT&T PBX repairman.
When gov’t depts do their budget, they keep all unfilled positions open as if they are still needed, because if they don’t, they will not get as much money as they want. I used to work for a union (accounting) and they would raise hell about having to lay off employees and all the horrors during budget cut calls. But afterwards, I would ask how many people were getting laid off, and they would say, “oh, none, we just won’t fill some open positions in the budget”.
Just as bad are those abusing flextime or flexible hours. I see every day, government employees who say they got to work at 4 or 5 AM, but do nothing but go get coffee and/or other breakfast items, sit at their desk surfing the internet or yacking with other lazy idiots until their boss comes in at 830 or 9 AM. By this time they have already “worked” 4 or even 5 hours, or so they say. Their bosses usually have to go to meetings by then so only see their employees for 2, maybe 3 hours out of the day. This is actually true, seen by my own eyes.
Sorry, but waiting for a security clearance is not the employee’s problem.
You can’t start the application until you are hired. Then you have to wait for the government to do its job.
Depending on the circumstances, you can’t do any work on the project until cleared, and there isn’t always other unclassified work that can be assigned.
fewer government employees would be a good thing for America
I also work flextime and its one of the few smart work policies we have.
I work 4-10hr days and tend to actually work 1-10,2-12 to 14hr days and another 11hr day for the week (without being paid OT)
We get more done by working continuously than interrupting with 8hr work schedules. It also cuts down on commute cost.
I also suggest there is more time wasted on 5day work schedules than 4 day schedules because the first and last 30min of each workday tend to be the least productive anyways. That’s about 1 hr in 10 wasted vs 1 hr in 8 wasted for 5 day schedules.
QC managers for years have observed this corporate weakness. An old QC adage of TIC-TOC tries to make it more productive, focusing the 1st 30 minutes on Training, Implement, and Communicate, and the last 30 min with Timesheet, Organize, and Cleanup. The 1st 30 minutes people tend to readjust from one culture to their office culture, and the last 30 minutes is to wrap up the day’s work so the following day has less confusion and lost time due to misplaced or forgotten tasks.
I’ve seen some of the inefficiencies of which you write, though in our local culture, it might rotate with maybe one out of 10 employees being that unfocused, but the others tend to be more than less focused with flextime.
Flextime is one of the better policies. The less capable managers don’t like their employees to be on flextime, because they don’t intuitively plan their operations then communicate their direction to their juniors. Instead, those who don;t like flextime tend to just pass their taskers on to their juniors directly, without managing their resources accountably.
I have my own eyes, frequently observing whole floors of empty desks (85-90 percent) - all assigned to employed but absent employees of Los Angeles County. As for the same abuse among Federal employees... here are just of few of the links to stories about government employees paid to sit at home, or have fun doing anything they want to...:
Indeed the number of featherbedding government workers in both federal and state government are enormous - as to the total number of such, I found no 'total number' estimated... but from simple observation, I would deduce that the number may be as high as 40% at the federal level, and likely higher than that at all too many county and state government agencies - that deduction based on simple long-term observation.
Yeah, I’d bet we could get along quite well with half of what we currently support - IF they simply did their assigned work daily without screwing the public on the actual hours worked.
Are these the ‘non-essential personnel’ we hear so much of during severe weather events?
Yeah, and much more. I'd say that better than 50% of our government, federal, state and local government is utterly non-essential.
I might tend to agree with your premise, but I was speaking of Federal employees. The Fraud, waste and abuse is rampant.
Hurray for republicans! They wrote another nasty letter.
Hurray for republicans! They wrote another nasty letter.
I was going to write this exact thing and saw your comment as I was about to hit post.
I can’t bring myself to care what the GOP does because I know they will lose the war even if they win a battle. The carpet is rotten and they focus on pieces of lint and claim victory. We are in big trouble and the GOP is part of the problem.
I know a builing in SFO that suposedly has an entire floor above one of my customers, who alsi held another floor, sandwhitching the gubmint office.
I needed to run fiber between the floors of a very old building and I wanted to know where to cut a hole for pathing and needed the hole to support fire stopping.
The landlord management let us in.
He literally just walked us into a locked gubmint office to expedite the process and wanted to show me his idea for placing the hole.
It would require a longer run but, he was right about the placement and we marked up a prelim sketch for his approval.
Amazingly, he approved it on the spot.
As we walked out it occurred to me there was no one in the office. Striking as there were no holiday’s.
I asked where everyone was and why could just walk into a locked office.
Parently, he rarely saw anyone in that office in the 7 years they’d been there. I obsereved dust everwhere and a paucity of work product anywhere. As well, the toilet water was brackish.
He would come into the office and clean the toilet once a month to keep the plumbing clear.
He thought it was odd but, they’d also signed for more offices, a 3 year agreement and for him it was a great deal, as the checks always arrived on time.
He was of the opinion our dollars were being wasted if they weren’t using the space.
My tech blurted out “Maybe it’s an undercover front”.
Our incompetent criminal government status-quot - usually carefully hidden from public view.
The lot of them should be prosecuted and jailed for massive criminal activity - if not, preferably, hung.
Probably a Pelosi campaign HQ.
Yes but of course obama is anything but rational or effecent in his choice of cuts.
This was in GW years...