Government employees

Don't Work, Get Money: Tens of Thousands of Federal Employees Paid to Sit at Home


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Then God blessed paid leave for federal employees under investigation and made it holy, reports The Washington Post:

Tens of thousands of federal workers are being kept on paid leave for at least a month — and often for longer stretches that can reach a year or more — while they wait to be punished for misbehavior or cleared and allowed to return to work.

A report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) … found that 53,000 civilian employees were kept home for one to three months during the three fiscal years that ended in September 2013. About 4,000 were idled for three months to a year and several hundred for one to three years.

Over the three year period, idle federal employees were paid $775 million in salaries to sit tight and wait in bureaucratic purgatory. And if full pay wasn't enough to mollify the unoccupied exiles, employees "also built their pensions, vacation and sick days and moved up the federal pay scale." The report is most likely lowballing those statistics as well: The GAO only looked at about three-fifths of the federal government because many agencies don't report the number of employees on paid leave.

But getting paid to do nothing is no stint on the Isles of the Blessed, according to some inactive feds. The Washington Post tells the, uh, maudlin tale of Scott Balovich, an IT systems worker for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Alaska:

Balovich, who makes $108,000 a year, was paid not to work while investigators examined how pornographic images had gotten onto his computer hard drive.

Perhaps he should talk to an Environmental Protection Agency employee, who faced similar queries. Balovich describes the hardship of getting paid to do jack:

"Six months went by, and we didn't hear anything…You're so anxious. You don't know if you've got a job. You're getting paid, but it's no vacation."

No vacation, indeed. Another Washington Post exposé from 2012 details the travails of Paul Brachfield, the inspector general for the National Archives:

He planned to ring in the new year with his wife with a relaxed visit to their vacation home near Bethany Beach, Del. In October, the couple took a cruise to Puerto Rico. Brachfeld runs every morning in Silver Spring, hikes with Spree, his Jack Russell terrier, in the woods most afternoons and catches up with his adult daughters in the evening. All while collecting his $186,000 government salary. These days, his life seems like one long vacation.

Unsurprisingly, the government's Office of Personnel Management already has rules regulating paid leave, though apparently no one follows them. Except for "rare circumstances," such as when an someone is a direct threat, an employee is to "remain in a duty status" during disciplinary proceedings. As the fictional Sgt. Bilko said, "We have rules, rules, and regulations!" It would seem those rules fly out the window when managers need an easy way to shunt aside problem employees.

NEXT: What John Grisham Got Right About Child Pornography

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  1. I propose that all government employees take a paid leave indefinitely. I think even with all those wasted wages, we’ll come out ahead by not losing all the wealth we would normally lose when they actually show up for work.

    1. But those faceless paper pushers are the only thing separating us from a pack of shit slinging apes.

  2. The damage done by government to personal liberty and the economy is probably much greater than the cost of bureaucrats’salaries. We would be better of if the worst of the nannystaters were paid to sit home and not bother the rest of us.

    In fact, that’s part of my plan to trim government: pay them to leave us alone.

    1. Until one day their legitimacy has waned so far so fast that we can stop paying them and their kind will all die come winter.

      1. Alas, they have power and with that, they never need legitimacy.

        1. They wouldn’t have power if they didn’t have legitimacy. The source of their authority isn’t a nuclear bomb, it’s the power that the overwhelming majority of people allow them to have.

  3. You don’t know if you’ve got a job. You’re getting paid,

    Hey, dumbass. If you’re getting paid, you still have a job.

    What has your panties all bunched up is that you don’t know if you will have a job for the rest of your life. Which is something all the Little People manage to deal with every fucking day.

  4. Lol

    ‘Due process’ =\= ‘bureaucratic purgatory.

    Case law? See:Loudermill

    Civil service means protection from being fired on a whim

    1. Civil service means protection from being fired on a whim

  5. Note, this is not a govt job double standard. It’s called CONTRACT(s), ‘how do those work’?

    Private employers and employees are free to contract similar arrangements, as some do. Plenty of private employees have ample due process protection from termination.

    One cop just won a sweet million dollar lawsuit (in excess when lawyers fees etc get reimbursed) due to bogus firing w/o due process.

    You are free to choose!

    Choice? How does that work

    Choose a job with due process protections or one w/o one.


    1. In the private sector, if your contract causes the price of the employer’s goods and services to go beyond what customers are willing to pay, then the company must move or go out of business or something.

      Government just raises taxes, since it can imprison customers who refuse to pay for services they neither want nor need.

      There is no comparison, since there are no consequences for overgenerous contract agreements in the public sector.

    2. If this kind of thing is not seen outside the government sphere, it is a double standard, regardless of the title at the top of the page where it is enshrined.

      And, its not seen outside the government sphere. Because the double standard is ultimately rooted in and a reflection of the lack of accountability (fiscal and otherwise) of the government sphere.

      Nice try, though. Have you induced anyone to violate federal law lately?

      1. It happens in both the public sphere and the private one
        You can lie all you want and pretend that this is something that only happens in public-sector employment but of course that’s just the lie

        Furthermore there is a difference between public employment and private employment such that the concept of “and government by for the people etc. requires a much more transparent automatic process when there is an allegation against a public employee versus in many private companies where the company can just say fuck you to the complainant and that’s the end of it

        If you work for a private company or own a private company and somebody complains that you were rude or swore at them or whatever you can just say fuck you then go to another company but if that same complaint is made against a police officer etc. it must be investigated

        By the nature of our job in law-enforcement we naturally attracts complaints since we have to do things like arrest people write tickets etc. and this naturally draws false complaints also which is what is so awesome about body cameras in that over and over again they are helping toclear officers from false complaints and help the public weed out bad officers as well as weed out false complaints and protect civil servants who are falsely accused which is much more likely to happen to somebody like a police officer then somebody like a bank teller

        1. The professional liar is accusing someone of lying. That’s funny.

        2. You can lie all you want and pretend that this is something that only happens in public-sector employment but of course that’s just the lie

          Prove it. Post something showing that a private sector employer is carrying people for months or years at a time on paid leave while deciding whether to fire them.

    3. Am I free to choose a different provider in law enforcement when the current one thinks it’s OK to shoot mentally disabled woodworkers, beat the crap out of random guys walking around Belltown, or curb stomp the Mexican Piss out of someone?

  6. They say the world looks down on the bureaucrats
    They say we’re anal, compulsive and wierd
    But when push comes to shove you gotta do what you love
    Even if it’s not a good idea

  7. Am I supposed to be mad or jealous? I have to admit I’m a little of both.

    1. Feel free to consider a LEO career!

      Join the working class heroes!!

      1. If I can get my self suspended with pay, I won’t even have to quit my current job.

        1. It is not a ‘suspension with pay’. This is an often repeated reason canard. Administrative leave with pay is not punishment; suspension is punishment. Suspension necessarily means no pay. Administrative leave can happen for a number of purposes. For example in my department it can happen in all sorts of critical incidents so that there can be a debriefing you’re a psychological assessment etc. before the officer is returned to work. From a cost-benefit basis it benefits the public the officer and his family by allowing a decompression. Counseling if needed etc. for example I once received admin leave with pay after a guy blew his head off 2 feet in front of me while I was speaking with with him. It wasn’t ‘punishment’ . The last thing you want is an officer returning to normal duty immediately after some sort of incident like this. A friend of my department got admin leave after she gave CPR to an infant after a car crash and died in her arms.

          People who talk about ‘suspension with pay’ are engaging in a canard, and don’t understand the oxymoron that is: suspension with pay

          1. Under suspension with pay, you are not to come to work, but get paid.

            Under administrative leave, you are not to come to work, but get paid.

            The difference is obvious, you ignorant bigots.

            1. There is no such thing as suspension with pay you can keep lying all you want but it doesn’t change that reality

              1. If there’s no such thing a suspension with pay, somebody needs to clue in the Pennsylvania Sureme Court.

                Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery was suspended with pay by the Supreme Court


                You really shouldn’t make categorical statements that are falsified on the very same website.

          2. All of this might be more meaningful if police were held to the same standards the rest of us are.

            I don’t get “suspended without pay” if I’m caught driving drunk. I lose my license and suffer a conviction.

            If I “fire my gun” when SWAT officers arrive, I go home in a body bag, or at minimum, with serious charges. Instead, police get: “”He wasn’t really intending to hurt anybody. He was just frustrated is, I think, what it was, and was firing into the dirt. So, really, there was no victim per se.””

            In the rare cases they are fire, they win the lottery:

            Boling also admitted to driving his police car drunk and hitting a curb in June 2013. No criminal charges will be filed.

            And in the rare cases where officers are fired, here’s what happens:

            Major Burbrink also explained part of the reasoning behind keeping Boling on the force. “We’ve been through this once before, years ago. Another officer, similar situation and Chief White fired him and merit court gave him his job back and the circuit court gave him his job back and we ended up having to settle with him for a substantial amount of money because we didn’t feel comfortable bringing him back,” he said.


            How about we raise the standards, and then we’ll revisit this conversation.

            1. In a town nearby a cop just wrecked his third cruiser since he’s been on the job. He was fired by a different city for the same reason. He’s still got a job. He’s probably going to kill someone due to his carelessness, and at worst he’ll get a long vacation.

              As we all know, in the private sector you get fired the first time you wreck a company vehicle, and with that shit on your record you never get a job driving again.

              Yet the fucking oinker claims pigs are held to a higher standard.


            2. It depends on the department some departments it’s an automatic termination for a DUI and other departments it isn’t if you have a problem with that I don’t give a flying fuck

              If you have a problem with the way your local department deals with Ofc. discipline then get involved with your local Police Department they work for you

              In plenty of jobs they could not care less if you get arrested for DUI and will not fire you

              In many jobs they will not even know that you got arrested and you have no legal obligation to tell them where as with most police departments you do

              1. it isn’t if you have a problem with that I don’t give a flying fuck

                Trust me, I know. I’m in the Private Sector Department. What’s the rule for my punishment?

                In plenty of jobs they could not care less if you get arrested for DUI and will not fire you,

                It has less to do with the job, and MORE to do with your record, which has an affect on getting any job.

                Again, you’ve purposely missed the point. The point is police are demonstrably held to lower standards.

                1. In plenty of jobs they could not care less if you get arrested for DUI and will not fire you,

                  Minimum wage/manual labor jobs, sure.

                  Most any job above and beyond that, bullshit.

            3. Edit fail, remove:

              In the rare cases they are fire, they win the lottery:

          3. You know, were I standing two feet away from you while in possession of a firearm, I’d likely blow my head off too.

      2. Dunphy’s not a ‘hero’ until he gets shot for the polity. Preferably in the head but I’m not picky.

    2. That was my first thought as well. I still haven’t decided. Probably both.

    1. From the Marysville Police Department, Hansen had planned to move on to the Navy Support Complex in Marysville. He figured that military personnel would kill him if police were not successful.

      He may have been just as disappointed by the DoD rent-a-cops at the gate.

  8. “Six months went by, and we didn’t hear anything?You’re so anxious. You don’t know if you’ve got a job. You’re getting paid, but it’s no vacation.”

    In the Private Sector, we call that Monday thru Friday.

    1. I’ve known plenty of cops who have been placed on such leaves and all of them would’ve vastly preferred working to the uncertainty of admin leave with pay

      Admin leave with pay also gives the department certain advantages such as they routinely issue a gag order so the officer being investigated can’t talk to the press where is the people investigating him can say whatever they want and he has no recourse unless he wants to get terminated for violating the gag order

      What’s far worse is when the department fires an officer without due process since they will invariably get at least a compensation for the entire period between when they got fired and when they got rehired including overtime pay at their customary use of overtime rate and in most cases also reimbursement for attorneys fees if any etc. is really good also such as in a recent case I’ve been looking at massivedamages etc accrue. We are talking hundreds of thousands of $$

      1. The impenetrable bubble of the entitled Master Class, well illustrated by our very own dunphy.

        1. Contracts? How do those work?

          The ally you are engaging in is the implication that this only happens with public employees

          There are plenty of workplaces where private employees through unions etc. have negotiated for similar due process protections

          I realize you are opposed to contracts and the marketplace of same which is of course an integral part of free choice and a free marketplace

          1. There are plenty of workplaces where private employees through unions etc. have negotiated for similar due process protections

            Show us the private workforce that is carrying people for months and years at a time on paid administrative leave. Then we can talk. If its so common, you shouldn’t have any trouble with it.

            What the entitled Master Class doesn’t, apparently, realize is that their special position in society, free of market dynamics and discipline, has gotten them privileges that are unheard of in the private sector.

              1. Hey, what do you know? It provides a link that doesn’t support the assertion of “carrying people for months and years at a time on paid administrative leave.”

          2. The idea that pubsec contracts are in any way the product of a “marketplace” is just Exhibit 1,412 in the proof that the entitled Master Class lives in an impenetrable bubble.

            1. I know you don’t support contracts and choice I do

              1. Who can argue with such mature debating technique?

              2. You apparently don’t even comprehend marketplace contracts and choice, so I don’t how you can support them.

          3. Refusal to reform and accept responsibility for your actions, how does it work?


            See, Dunphy and Company think they’re Dolph Lundgen in Universal Soldier, but the judge wasn’t buying it:

            Do you have any idea what
            it’s like out there? Do you?

            Well, I’m fighting this thing, man.
            It’s like kick ass or kiss ass.

            And I’m bustin’ heads.

            It’s the only way to win this fucking war.

            1. This is how it’s supposed to work idiot

              Management win some and labor Wynsum but when both sides advocate the result tends to be fair

              Recently three of my good friends who were unjustly fired were all rehired with backpay due to binding arbitration because they were unjustly fired by administration that is out-of-control

              I have one settlements against police officers/administrators who violated my rights and I strongly advocate for you to do the same if a police officer violate your rights

              I’m very happy for example with some monetary rewards I have received due to advocating for my rights against police misconduct

              I realize you probably don’t believe in due process but I do and Seattle police were advocating for same and the finder of fact found against them that’s how the process works

              Booya due process!


    Booya Justice and due process!

  10. What’s the alternative? If the mere accusation of wrong doing causes you to lose employment, you’re basically making it even easier for the corrupt politicians to weed out anyone with ethics.

    1. What’s the alternative?

      Howsabout we outlaw pubsec unions (as Saint FDR said we should), and see what happens next.

      1. Outlaw public unions and you would likely have a far less competent and ethical Police Department wherever they were outlawed

  11. One reason that admin leaves can sometimes take a long time is because of Garrity issues etc. they are just way beyond the understanding of most reason readers who don’t understand caselaw

    I’m like in cases of private employment when a police officer is accused of misconduct those investigating him have certain powers that are private employer doesn’t have as well as resources such as prosecutors office crime labs and all sorts of things to put the officer at a disadvantage versus if he was accused by a private employer

    Without Garrity protections for example administration can use their ties with the prosecutors office to pass information on unlawfully to them that they gained due to compel the testimony and they have prosecutor access in ways that private employers do not

    I support due process protection for everybody and I’m not going to single out police officers

    Booya due process!!!

    1. Dunphy confuses contractual privileges with due process.

      Naturally, he wants to obfuscate and elevate all these special contractual privileges to something that sounds much better, like “due process”.

      If I were to get a “bad” notice of contract termination from one of our contractors, I wouldn’t say that they had denied me due process. I’d say they had breached the contract.

      But you just keep on keepin’ on in that impenetrable bubble of yours, dunph.

  12. Here’s where an idiot like sarcasmic or sloppy repeats the lie that arbitrators are handpicked by unions which is a ridiculous why recently made when in fact they are agreed on by both management and the unions

    1. You mean, like this?

      Scott M. Ando was appointed to his position by Mayor Rahm Emanuel on February 15, 2014. He originally joined IPRA in 2011 as the 1st Deputy Chief Administrator following a 33 year law enforcement career,

      Elizabeth Lerner began her career with the City of Chicago with the Department of Police, working in the Bureau of Administrative Services, Records Division.…..rship.html

      Yeah, those ignorant bigots.

      1. If you replace police with Monsanto and arbitrator with Dept of Ag bureaucrat, you get the material used to create Food, Inc.

        One man’s revolving door is another man’s experienced leadership.

      2. The extra special punch line for the Chicago “independent” review board is the pubsec wallahs now populating the board are cashing full pensions as well as (no doubt full-time) paychecks, which will undoubtedly result in an even phatter lifetime burden on the taxpayers.


    Due process!!!

  14. For the curious.…..edication/

  15. The GAO only looked at about three-fifths of the federal government because many agencies don’t report the number of employees on paid leave.

    WTF? Don’t tell me *that* is due to “national security”!

    “Hello, Sir or Madam Agency Head. This is the Head of the Congressional Committee considering whether to fund your agency. I’d like to know the number of your employees on paid leave. I’ll hang on for a minute while you look it up.”

  16. “Six months went by, and we didn’t hear anything?You’re so anxious. You don’t know if you’ve got a job. You’re getting paid, but it’s no vacation.”

    He could, uh, look for a new job. I spent six months this year looking for a job, and was paid nothing for it.

    And, it’s funny when government employees are weighed down by their own bureacratic timetables. I doubt the private sector would take six months to fire someone.

  17. Dear Lucian,

    You are an intern but (I hope) you are getting paid. If you aren’t, imagine that you are, and then imagine the following:

    Some child pornography is found on a computer at Reason that you use with another employee, in a hidden file. You say that the other person did it, and you know nothing about it, but she’s suddenly moved to Thailand. The Reason board tells your boss if the culprit isn’t discovered, contributions are likely to drop to zero. Reason puts you on unpaid leave while they investigate. You’re 1) broke and 2) labeled a possible child porno buff. Happy?

    1. WTF does this have to do with anything?

      I mean, it doesn’t map over to pubsec suspensions at all, because Anal specifies “unpaid” leave.

  18. There was a guy in an office here that was caught sleeping on the job. He was reprimanded many times but never corrected the behavior. So, they started paperwork to fire him. He was eventually fired. Then he appealed the decision because some form was not properly filled out. So he got his job back 5 years later. They had to give him back pay for all the years he was officially terminated. Plus, they were not allowed to terminate him for the same reason (sleeping on the job).

    I suppose he can’t sleep at night… BECAUSE HE SLEEPS AT WORK!

  19. Could this be the gig that guy keeps advertising here?

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