Government employees

Even at the VA Your Federal Bureaucrats Are Stellar Enough for Government Work


but especially to take care of those who care enough to do public service and get paid well for it

Defenses of public sector salaries often rest on the idea that better pay attracts better candidates, while low turnover is chalked up to government workers being so good at their job nobody gets fired or wants to leave. The low turnover, of course, can also be attributed to union protections, and even in the absence of a public union governments often have stricter rules on managing employees than the private sector. It's difficult to compare or even gauge job performance, too, as so many government jobs don't have an equivalent in the public sector, while government employees often get stellar reviews from government supervisors.

For example, The New York Times reports that in the last four years, each of 470 senior executives at the Department of Veterans Affairs  (VA) was reviewed as being "fully successful" (or better!) in their jobs, this while the department's employees were actively covering up criminal negligence in veterans' healthcare. The Times reports:

The data also showed that in 2013, nearly 80 percent of the senior executives were rated either "outstanding" or as having exceeded "fully successful" in their job performance, and that at least 65 percent of the executives received performance awards, which averaged around $9,000. Only about 20 percent received the middle of the five ratings.

Veterans Affairs officials sought to play down the data, saying that only 15 senior executives across the federal government had received either of the two lowest ratings in the most recent year

That someone paid to spin things to the media would really think pointing out that every supervisor in the federal government gets a good review would help illustrates how disconnected from reality federal employees have become. Perhaps it shouldn't be surprising though, given the Obama administration's insistence that the scandals they're embroiled in are fake and the willingness of Obama apologists to eat that narrative up.

The data The Times quotes came out in testimony by a VA assistant secretary last week who defended the system of performance bonuses by saying it was needed to retain talent—as lawmakers pointed out, there wasn't a mass exodus from the department after bonuses were suspended. Her testimony also revealed that the outstanding performance reviews are likely written by the people being reviewed. Government's just that good.

h/t Irish and Dances-With-Trolls

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  1. Dances-with-Trolls can’t even get a proper h/t. I blame the squirrels.

    1. thanks, fixed

      1. A co-hat tip, woohoo! I’m not proud, I’ll take it.

        Also, from the Washington Examiner article on this it seems that these executives write their own performance reviews, which makes the situation even crazier.

        Every top manager of the Department of Veterans Affairs received a positive performance evaluation for the past four years, and 78 percent got a bonus in 2013, despite a string of patient deaths and falsification of records related to patient wait times, according to congressional testimony Friday.

        Agency executives write their own performance evaluations, which seem to receive only cursory reviews from their supervisors, several committee members said in questioning the VA’s top personnel officer.

        1. . . . seems that these executives write their own performance reviews. . .

          That’s . . . not that unusual. I was writing my own review at the E-4/5 level.

          Its supposed to give you practice writing evals so that, when you get to the point tat you’re job requires you to write them for your subordinates you are familiar with the process.

          ‘Course the difference between the military and the VA; your evals are reviewed and edited by your COC – it doesn’t just to the CO for his signature.

  2. Farrisee said the bonus structure at VA is necessary to recruit and retain top people but acknowledged there was no mass exodus from the VBA after bonuses there were suspended.

    So, we can expect her to face charges of perjury, or at least contempt, right?

  3. Unbiased

    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate, illegally coordinated fundraising with conservative groups as part of a nationwide “criminal scheme” to violate election laws, prosecutors said in court documents unsealed Thursday.

    No charges have been filed against Walker or any member of his staff. The documents were filed in December as part of an ongoing lawsuit by the conservative group Wisconsin Club for Growth, which challenged a secret investigation into campaign fundraising coordination.

    The investigation began in 2012 as Walker was facing a recall election, but has been on hold since May when a federal judge ruled it was a breach of the group’s free-speech rights and temporarily halted the probe.

    Prosecutors said in the December filing that Walker, his former chief of staff Keith Gilkes, top adviser R.J. Johnson and others were discussing illegal fundraising and coordination with a number of national groups and prominent figures, including GOP strategist Karl Rove.

    The investigation began in 2012 as Walker was facing a recall election, but has been on hold since May when a federal judge ruled it was a breach of the group’s free-speech rights and temporarily halted the probe.

    I can’t really make heads or tails of this. You don’t suppose that’s what PBS intended, do you?

    1. “Court domuments” as in politically motivated charges that were thrown out of court for complete lack of proof. They use the term court documents toame it sound like a court found that he did that when the truth is that the court found just the opposite. That is the most rank piece of lying I have seem in a while. They must be terrified of Walker

      1. They are scared shitless of him, and with good reason.

        Wisconsin is pretty much the birthplace of the communist movement in America. If a guy like Walker can succeed there, he can succeed in most of the country.

        1. I keep saying: Scott Walker/Rand Paul 2016.

    2. A few more details on this…..bunked.php

      What galls me is that not only did they seal the court records, but they had a Secrecy Order that kept the defendants from talking about how they were being rail roaded.

      Never got why you can tell someone they can’t talk about how they are being investigated.

      1. Because you might tip off the other conspirators is the theory. In reality it just allows the government to do appalling things withe the public finding out.

        1. Yeah, I get the theory, but I still don’t know why they can force you to play along with them. Why should I be under any obligation to help the govt with their attempts to jail other citizens?

          And like you said, in practice this lets them get away with all sorts of unsavory practices.

    3. Yeah, I read the whole thing and that’s either some of the shitiest reporting ever, or it was written that way intentionally to cast doubt on Walker.

      The media in this country is shameful. I wonder if a media outlet that did nothing more than police the media could make money?

      1. The media is just fascist. By the standard in this article some redneck grand jury could indict Obama for murder and the story would be “Court documents reveal Obama involved in murder for hire scheme”.

      2. That’s what the Media Research Center has been doing for ages, but they’re a 501(c)(3).

    4. “Secret Investigation”

      What’s that?

    5. PBS doesn’t even give the usual reach around “alleged” in there?

  4. I hate places that have bonuses tied to performance bonuses. I don’t know how many times they have tried to ding me at bonus time because I didn’t meet my goals. Then I have to point out that they never gave me time to work on the projects tied to my goals because they kept pulling me off of them to go work on other peoples’ projects in order to save them.

    The last place I went, I told them to simply bump my salary up by 15% instead of being eligible for a 30% bonus. That worked out so much better.

  5. The way government service works is the SES are completely taken care of. Once you are an SES you are given large bonuses no matter how badly you fuck up or what kind of a moron you are. Non SES have gotten few bonuses in the last few years. But no amount of austerity will keep the top men from helping themselves. Government is a bit like higher ed where a few people at the top are constantly rewarded for failure and anything that goes wrong is blamed on the rest. That seems to be how every organization run by leftists works.

  6. I totally dropped the ball on something I actually was supposed to know about, but trust me on this.

    It’s true that the United States can’t solve this problem alone. But we’re not going to be able to persuade other big carbon polluters to take the urgent action that’s needed if we’re not doing everything we can do to slow our carbon emissions and mitigate our risks.

    I was secretary of the Treasury when the credit bubble burst, so I think it’s fair to say that I know a little bit about risk, assessing outcomes and problem-solving. Looking back at the dark days of the financial crisis in 2008, it is easy to see the similarities between the financial crisis and the climate challenge we now face.


    1. I completely fucked up doing the job I am supposed to be an expert at So you should totally trust my opinion on something I know nothing about.

    2. Looking back at the dark days of the financial crisis in 2008, it is easy to see the similarities between the financial crisis and the climate challenge we now face.

      The major similarity I see is lots of people crying “Crisis!” as an excuse to impose their political agenda, which will either do nothing or make things worse.

  7. ‘m a businessman, not a climatologist. But I’ve spent a considerable amount of time with climate scientists and economists who have devoted their careers to this issue. There is virtually no debate among them that the planet is warming and that the burning of fossil fuels is largely responsible.

    You spent a lot of time hanging around with investment bankers, and they somehow or other convinced you the only way to save the world was to make sure the investment bankers all got paid first.

    1. The Trudeau edi-cartoon today assures us the ‘climate change’ is fatal and 99% of the scientists say the only way to fix it is government taking over the economy.
      Oh, and it was on the comix page.

      1. Even in the ’70s, some papers moved Doonesbury to the editorial section.

    2. Well, this is different because now he’s hanging out with a bunch of investment bankers who have a lot of beachfront property that might be affected by rising oceans.

      They’ve convinced him that something needs to be done so that their property isn’t damaged.

      Totally different

      1. Speaking of rising oceans…where are they? Wasn’t half of Florida supposed to be underwater by now?

        And wasn’t the average global temperature actually supposed to increase?

        And weren’t there supposed to be more/bigger hurricanes?

        Where are all these things? I want my AGW!

        1. Wasn’t there a couple of island nations supposed to gone too?

          1. How long can predictions fail to materialize before the sheep call bullshit?

            1. It’s happening now, reported as “apocalypse fatigue.”

        2. It’s the second day of summer, and I’m looking at the national temperature map, and I see nothing at all worth shitting our pants over.

  8. only 15 senior executives across the federal government had received either of the two lowest ratings in the most recent year

    …Thus proving that you can’t solve the Hayekian information problem by instituting a system of performance metrics.

    Because the performance metrics will be whatever they have to be to serve the requirements of Top. Men.

    1. only 15 senior executives across the federal government had received either of the two lowest ratings in the most recent year

      Since they obviously have all Top.Men., it would make sense to raise the expectations and standards.


      “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.”

      1. Fixed the damn link. I blame the squirrels.

  9. Its bribery money for those VA officals in this case!

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