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June 05, 2003

Flexibility Equals Patronage at DOD

The Defense Department wants to "reshape" the DoD personnel system, meaning giving greater flexibility to hire, fire, promote and give bonuses. The result would largely be the end of the civil service system and the creation of one where party loyalty would be the key to career advancement:

But the president of a union representing 200,000 of the department's civilian employees said the proposals risked returning personnel practices to the days of patronage before the Civil Service was created.

"The risk that this system will be politicized, and characterized by cronyism in hiring, firing, pay, promotion and discipline are immense," Bobby L. Harnage, national president of the union, the American Federation of Government Employees, said in a prepared statement. "And the ability to mitigate that risk will be minuscule."

Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, allied himself with that view, saying, "It is our responsibility to counterbalance the natural temptation for future Department of Defense officials to reward loyalty over quality of performance and provide pay and promotions to those who tell senior officials what they want to hear."

Imagine if every division of the Defense Department acted like the hacks who pumped up the false information of "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq.

That is the fate of the whole defense department if these proposals go through.

Posted by Nathan at June 5, 2003 07:24 AM