Allen B. West

This is the job I want: Tens of thousands of federal workers on paid leave

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It’s not news that government waste is a huge problem, but what is shocking is the extent – and it seems every week there’s a new revelation. As reported by 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, government records show. During a three-year period that ended last fall, more than 57,000 employees were sent home for a month or longer. The tab for these workers exceeded $775 million in salary alone.”

Unbelievable. Now, if this were a private sector company, management would answer to their shareholders. In this case, we are the shareholders and this is OUR money being used as part of statist corruption emanating from our federal government. Can you imagine being sent home on paid leave for over a month? Where does this happen in regular, everyday America?

Well, this goes right along with the case of one former IRS employee – i.e. bureaucrat — named Lois Lerner who refused to answer to the American people, pleading the Fifth Amendment. And now this same individual enjoys a six-figure taxpayer-funded pension. While many middle-income American taxpayers struggle, these government employees are laughing at us.

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And for those who would attack military retirees drawing a pension after 20-plus years of service or after suffering debilitating injuries due to service-related issues — you show nothing less than utter disdain for and misunderstanding of the meaning of service, sacrifice, and commitment. Imagine the gall of our Congress to say that in order to get our budget in order we needed to break the promise to our military veterans and end the COLA increases until they hit retirement age of 65 — since they’re still at working age.

Imagine what could have been done to improve our VA healthcare system with the $775 million paid to folks like Lois Lerner and that cheeky fella from the IRS who was sitting in the hot tub in Las Vegas?

You’d think maybe something would have changed — nah, as the Post says, “the extensive use of administrative leave continues despite government personnel rules that limit paid leave for employees facing discipline to “rare circumstances” in which the employee is considered a threat. The long-standing rules were written in an effort to curb waste and deal quickly with workers accused of misconduct.”

So when has Washington D.C. lived by any standing rules — to include our own Constitution? You see, this is the problem – we have a government that issues rules, regulations, executive orders, and edicts upon the people yet doesn’t follow any of the guidelines established for itself. And that mainly comes from the document that is restrictive on the government, the U.S. Constitution.

The Post says, “the comptroller general, the top federal official responsible for auditing government finances and practices, has repeatedly ruled that federal workers should not be sidelined for long periods for any reason.”

“However, a report by the Government Accountability Office, first made public by The Washington Post on its web site Monday, 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. This is the first time the government has calculated the scope and cost of administrative leave. Auditors found that supervisors used wide discretion in putting employees on leave, including for alleged violations of government rules and laws, whistleblowing, doubts about trust­worthiness, and disputes with colleagues or bosses. Some employees remain on paid leave while they challenge demotions and other punishments. While the employees stayed home, they not only collected paychecks but also built their pensions, vacation and sick days and moved up the federal pay scale.”

Here’s just one example from the Washington Post. Scott Balovich, who earns $108,000 a year in an IT systems job at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Alaska, was paid not to work while investigators examined how pornographic images had gotten onto his computer hard drive. (I will resist the obvious joke there – you may fill it in).

Balovich ultimately was cleared of any personal involvement and returned to his job last week. His attorney, Debra D’Agostino, a founder of the Federal Practice Group, said he “got stuck in the inertia of bureaucracy.”

This is OUR federal government — NOT at work — and YOU have an opportunity to change this direction in order to reestablish a government that responds and works for you and rein in the lawlessness that exists. You must get out and vote!

Uh-oh: Look who Democrats are pushing Obama to PARDON now...

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