December 10th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Are government workers at every level accountable enough?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Here we go again... Five Transportation Security Administration employees are now on "administrative leave" after a sensitive airport security manual was posted on the Internet.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/10/art.tsa.gi.jpg caption=""]
Here's some of what was revealed:

  • Who is exempt from certain additional screening measures
  • Examples of identification documents that screeners accept
  • And details of the screening process and the limitations of x-ray machines.

This comes weeks after three Secret Service officers were put on leave while that agency investigates how it allowed those two morons to crash a White House State Dinner.

Government employees who are found compromising national security are placed on "administrative leave." Gee... give me some of that. They sit home and do nothing while they continue to collect their paychecks. That's some "punishment." We have 10-percent unemployment in this country - yet try firing a government employee for anything short of a felony conviction. Can't be done.

They're protected, they know it, and as a result sometimes they just don't try very hard. Look anywhere from your local city hall to Washington, DC: Government is rife with complacency, inefficiency, and in some cases - downright arrogance.

I bet some of the 16-million unemployed would jump at the chance to get one of those jobs and would approach it with a little more enthusiasm and professionalism.

Here’s my question to you: Are government workers at every level accountable enough?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Doug from Dallas writes:
No they're not, unless you count contempt as a virtue. They tend to treat the average American, their boss, as idiots and act like they can do no wrong – and if they do, it's no big deal. I guess that comes from knowing you can't be fired. There is no accountability so they just thumb their noses at us while we continue to pay them.

Chip from Celina, Ohio writes:
Jack, The saying, "Close enough for government work", exists for a reason. You've hit the nail on the head. You're right on the money as far as firing someone too. Not all employees are lazy and inefficient, but a large enough percentage are… My dad worked in the government and was trying to fire someone he supervised. After about a year of paperwork and trying to build a "federal" case, he just decided it would be easier to let it go three more years until the guy retired. Sad.

Paul writes:
My father worked for the government for 35 years. He and his colleagues were competent, dedicated and enterprising. Jack, think how you worded your careless statement about government workers, full of generalities and attacks.

Bill from Atlanta writes:
As we head more and more toward socialism, just keep in mind what great service you currently receive from all of the government institutions and programs and think how wonderful it will be when the government gets more involved in your life.

Marber writes:
As one who worked for government for 25+ years and saw the incompetence and lack of work ethic in too many of the employees who I worked along side of, I can attest to the fact that they are overprotected from discipline and firing. They have more job protection that do union members.

Dave writes:
Jack, Your TSA story illustrates exactly why we do not need a government run health care system. It would just be filled with more unaccountable bureaucrats!

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (211 Responses)
  1. Bert

    Our government as a whole is not accountable or trustworthy! It all starts from the top and trickles down to the last man standing!
    I love my country but don't trust my governement and shame on anyone that thinks otherwise!

    December 10, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  2. Mark, Bradenton,FL

    Accountable? Look at the gangsters in congress. We are run by the mafia.

    December 10, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  3. jeff

    Hell no! Any type of government worker is usually slower and doesn't care about performance. They think they are untouchable. Most should be looking for work.

    December 10, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  4. Paul, Austin, Texas

    As a former federal employee I would say no. It seemed the higher you went up in the chain of comand the less accountable you became.

    December 10, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  5. Tom Clifford


    Since Reagan and Thatcher in the 80s, governments have thinned,
    voting has plummeted, service in hospitals and schools has declined,
    and accountability has taken the same path.

    Government bureaucracies have never been very accountable; but there
    is a light on the horizon. Corportations are starting to take over more of
    the functions of government, and through our purchase habits and
    publicity access, we citizens can influence corporations to be more
    responsible and accountable.

    But with this shift comes danger; government carries the force of
    law – with a weaker government, corporations could be held less
    and less to the law.

    We need both a strong government to protect us from predation,
    both from outside and inside our borders. Both sides need to be
    held to account for their practices. Only balance between our
    government and corporations will achieve this.

    Tom C., East Lansing, MI

    December 10, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  6. Bryan

    Accountable, are you kidding. I didn't think accountable and government could be used in the same sentence. Laws, policies,and loss of freedom is forced upon the American people while the ones that implement do as they please. America Home of the brave, land of the "free?"

    December 10, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  7. Jean

    I am glad I am not a politician (especially a Senator). Can you imagine trying to sleep at night after a day of making the comments being made about health care? If this wasn't a serious issue, it would be good, even if sometimes boring, entertainment. I wish they would get serious and do what's best for the USA citizens.

    December 10, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  8. William Connor

    When is the last time you looked up DEMOCRACY in any of the Dictionaries??????? Try looking it up now………does the will of the majority fall into that category ?????

    Why is it that our Politicians from the Federal, State and local ignore Democracy and listen to the minority. The Media seem fascinated by the minorities quest to change this county. Our Flag doesn’t have to be respected anymore! Our Children are being approach to believe Homosexuality is okay and is natural way of life for a man to be sexual with another man and a woman to be sexual with another woman. The minority seems threatened that to celebrate Christmas with the saying of Merry Christmas is immoral and must be done behind closed doors.

    The whole foundation of what this country use to mean is going down the toilet. Stop and look at what is going on around you. Is this what you remember when you were growing up????? Didn’t that time frame have any meaning for you???????

    Wm Connor
    South Pasadena, FL

    December 10, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  9. Rick McDaniel / Lewisville, TX

    My observation is that government employees think they don't have to answer to the citizen. They consider they have "authority", and you don't. That basically makes them consider themselves "unanswerable" to you, the citizen, in every case.

    I feel that all government, at every level, is basically corrupt, with one of the absolute worst, public school systems.

    I have seen corruption exposed at many of these levels, not just once, but numerous times, and it really galls you to find a school superintendent has purchased personal furniture, for her home, on school system credit cards, for example.

    December 10, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  10. Russ in PA

    No, from the top down, there needs to be as much accountability as in a private company. How does a president and congress get away with passing any quantity of bills that don't adhere to the Constitution? And speaking of government workers, their number needs to be cut in half, if not further. Make them all go and and work for a living!

    December 10, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  11. John from Alabama

    Jack: Federal employees can not be fired unless they are incompetent, sexual harassment, or failure to show up for work. Federal employees are usually just transferred around to other agencies rather than be fired. Under this system it is very hard to hold a federal employee accountable for anything, but management employees above GS-12 can be fired for cause more easily than lower ranking employees. Usually when a boss is fired the other employees become very accountable.

    December 10, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  12. RichP the Pocono's

    The problem is that it rolls downhill too far and those who made the rules are generally exempt from what they decided. It's generally the one who can't roll it downhill anymore that gets the shaft.

    December 10, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  13. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    Not Interior Secretary Salazar. Millions of people have asked him to stop the slaughter of wolves in areas Mother Nature intends them to be, all to no avail.

    December 10, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  14. Johnh Davidson

    Accountable you ask. Surely you jest. Correct me if you feel I am being too harsh, but it seems more like the more prominent, the less accountable they are. The longer and higher they get supports the old saying "absolute power corrupts absolutely". Even the squeaky clean Tiger Woods has fallen prey to the corruption that follows the money.

    December 10, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  15. Cal

    I think that all Government workers are on the dole. They Produce nothing and are a waste of taxpayers money. The only money that the Government has is what they steal from the American taxpayers.We need to fire 90% of Govt. Workers including our Congressional Representatives.

    December 10, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  16. Susan Frost

    Government workers at most levels are nearly impossible to fire – due to civil service laws – unless you catch them in the act of burning the place down. They're largely shielded from accountability for anything and their superiors tend to be elected or politically appointed officials who also can't get canned except by the voters who gripe about them and then re-elect them. Can you describe this situation with any phrase that does not include the word "cluster"?

    Tuscaloosa AL

    December 10, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  17. Fred R Deleon

    Congress and Senate, WH staff, Vice President, The President all of them are goverment workers and they are not accountable enough.
    Why to look for an escape goat?

    December 10, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  18. Joe CE

    Government employees can and have been fired. If they were placed on admin leave it is pprobably pending a hearing. If you think government employees have it a lot easier than average, you nevbered worked for the government.

    December 10, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  19. Greg, Ontario

    Thier ability to look you in the face and lie or talk for five minutes and not answer the question is common to bureaucrats and politicians all over the world.

    December 10, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  20. Lou from North Carolina

    No. I was a government worker and travelled to many agencies and activities who were also government workers and less than half are incompetent, were given jobs because their folks worked in the same place or they retired, were no good as active military and the same as a government civil service employee.

    December 10, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  21. Rick Medina,OH


    I don't know what is more difficult ... to fire a tenured union worker or a government employee protected by the U. S. Civil Service. Both are very highly paid, and enjoy benefits most workers would salivate over. They know also that they are protected, and a small few take advantage of that. These folks vote, and there are enough of them to make civil service reform an unlikely priority. That is unfortunate for the rest of us.

    Rick, Medina, OH

    December 10, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  22. Lori - PA



    In these two cases where safety and security were compromised, those involved should be fired. But since they can't, they should be on adminstrative leave without pay. And retrained.

    December 10, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  23. Sandra in Temecula, CA

    No – Look at the quality of your average government employee. DMV comes to mind. These people would never survive a job in the real world and unions make it impossible to get rid of the bad employees. That's the problem when hiring is done on filling quotas over hiring the best candidate for the job. Equal opportunity employment apparently eliminates quality.

    December 10, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  24. David Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    Good Heavens ""NO"" Jack
    The good ole boy system is in full play.Be it top brass or low dog its still the same system.There are very few rules and almost never any punishment for anything.

    December 10, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  25. Jimmy from Houston, TX

    You can thank the unions for our tax dollars going to pay for bad employees that should have been fired. It is ridiculous that these people don't get fired, in the real world you either do your job and do it well or you will be replaced by someone who will.

    December 10, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  26. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    Never! If you screw up consequences have to be applied. Do they ever get yearly evaluations like the rest of us? Bet a lot of them would be joining the unemployment line. If there is some law that they cannot be touched, how about Congress doing something right and changing it and making them accountable for their actions. While they are at it maybe they can also include themselves.

    December 10, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  27. Melissa

    Jack, how do you know that they're sitting at home collecting paychecks? Administrative leave means different things for different companies, and usually it means sans paychecks.

    December 10, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  28. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    No they're not. Just look at the White House dinner lady who is being treated like a diplomat. These people should be fired on the spot and anyone else associated with the mess. Maybe they should be given a new job somewhere in Afghanistan without pay.

    December 10, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  29. Joe in VA

    As one who was a federal manager for over 25 years, the answer is , "No, government employees at every level are NOT accountable enough." As with any bureaucracy, there are volumes of regulations generating many strings that tie the hands of managers regarding hiring, firing and discipline. It is easier to fire someone for cheating on a travel claim than it is for bringing a gun to work. Discipline leading to suspension or removal requires so many steps that sadly some managers just give up trying and use any means possible, including recommendations for other jobs, to get the trouble maker out of their oversight. Overall, I still believe our civil service is among the world's best and that it has some of the best and most dedicated folks around. However, they deserve a better and more effective personnel management system under which to operate.

    Chatham, VA

    Chatham, VA

    December 10, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  30. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    The term accountable is often misused.

    Psychologists define accountable as to cease a harmful or destructive behavior.

    In that light, we can only be accountable to ourselves. And in doing so requires telling the absolute truth, facing reality, and being self disciplined. This is something that plagues not only government workers but many individuals. A better example for a lack of accountability using this definition are politicians.

    If you ask should these workers be culpable and face consequences if they cannot be accountable, only the two reality deprived undisciplined chowder head gate crashers wouldn't think so.

    December 10, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  31. Mode (PDX)

    Who is held accountable in a society dominated by excuse making liars, Jack? Nobody is held accountable, because our society has come to resemble a pack of animals than any city on a hill. People have to truly care about their society, before we can expect any social norms like holding failures accountable for their faults. As counter intuitive as it is to me, all I seem to witness is the celebration of not caring and the tyranny of failures–our economic and political leaders.

    December 10, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  32. Maria

    I have a son who is highly placed in the Commerce Dept. His constant complaint is how little work gets done, when it does it's usually wrong and how much more difficult all of this makes his job.

    I'll bet they could hire two-thirds of the amount of people there now, and get great workers who can think independently, are curious and willing to search out answers, who think outside the box.



    December 10, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  33. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Civil servants will never be accountable. They get less pay than the private sector, so therefore attract less capable people. Because they are paid less, we give them employment rules which ensures they stay forever. Net result, less capable people who stay forever, the worst of both worlds for us.

    December 10, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  34. Jennifer - Winnipeg

    I'd love to answer your question ... if it had been posted. In answer to your Title question ... no. Government workers, no matter what position they hold, are not accountable for their screw-ups. They simply hide out at home for a couple of weeks to the dust settles and then they're back at working on the next screw-up. Don't forget, Jack, these are union workers. It's vertually impossible to fire a union worker.

    December 10, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  35. Michelle Johnson, Lomita, CA

    Jack, Totally agree with your opinion here. This in-your-face attitude of laziness and irresponsibility has affected the country for a generation. The root cause is foolishness–defending one's actions rather than owning up and correcting the mistake, and trivializing important issues while refusing to seriously consider them. Even news media laughs and jokes about the State Dinner party crashers and the balloon boy incident instead of treating the stories in-depth. How to correct the problem? Come down hard on the offenders and insist on commitment and dedication. Humor is great in its place, but playing the fool is never appropriate.

    December 10, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  36. Arlene, Illinois

    I want all my grandchildren to grow up and work for the
    Government and always have a steady job! Just accept
    your paycheck and not be accountable, sounds like a
    Congressman to me.

    December 10, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  37. Mike

    When you screw up enough you should pay. I can see no reason for worker protection when the job is not performed to minimal standards. It is clear that there is a climate of laxity among those who work for the government. While many are doing great jobs, there are those who should be flat out fired – out the door – no return. Race – Gender – Age – no excuse.

    December 10, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  38. Loren, Chicago

    Yes, they are accountable enough, but the better question is are they smart enough. Too many jobs throughout all levels of government have become tied with invisible strings of political control, from local boards, to Congress, such that a person of above average intelligence would not consider such jobs because of the chains such control places on improving governmental performance. It's said we get the government we deserve, but given what America has sacrificed around the globe and at home to support freedom and democracy, one can only think the U.S. government is some sick, cosmic joke.

    December 10, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  39. Bizz, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    Jack, back in the workplace I came from you could be fired for just about anything and little if anything could be done about it. The mistakes usually happen with people in charge wanting to get an order out on time. They knew the part was being made wrong but if question about it they told you to do has you are told. They could always pass the blame down the line until some poor sap got fired. Harry Truman once said the buck stops here. That is no longer the case anymore no matter if you work for the government or in the private sector. I could never imagine being sent home and still being paid for something that was my fault or not.

    December 10, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  40. southerncousin

    Absolutely not. They belong to unions and unions don't believe any of their members should be held accountable, that is why American industry has such a hard time competing. Look at the NEA.

    December 10, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  41. JENNA

    Are government workers at every level accountable enough?

    Well GW Bush wasn't accountable for anything and he was the top government worker so why should the bottom of government workers be held accountable for anything??

    Roseville CA

    December 10, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  42. Denny from Tacoma, WA

    This is certainly not a new trend. Government employed misfits have been safe now for many years because it is too expensive to discharge them after they successfully passed their initiation phase. These misfits are usually transferred elsewhere of sent home on administrative leave. Tough life, huh?

    December 10, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  43. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    There are entirely too many workers in both the public and private sectors who are not responsible or accountable to anyone but themselves it seems. Our two recent examples show workers not following their own security protocol at a State Dinner and others put their security rules on the Internet for every nutball in the world to download, print, and read. They should all be fired–and new workers hired who want to do the job. I'm not sure there is much job accountability anywhere right now–one of the many things wrong right now in America.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  44. Ryan, Galesburg IL

    I'm more concerned with the abuses caused by exploitation of the Patriot Act than the few mistakes listed here. Jack, centuries of citizens' rights were overturned in the panic of 2001 are are still missing. These mistakes are easily corrected. The debasement of our Democracy is not.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  45. Michael Alexandria, VA

    Jack, this bureaucrat bashing is below you. The personnel in question likely made an honest mistake in assuming that their publishing tool successfully redacted the information that should have been. If the redaction was simply a misuse of Adobe Acrobat, there is really no one who should be held accountable. If, however, this was a flaw in IBM's PRISM contracting system, then the real fault is with IBM.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  46. Smelly B. Hind

    I don't know about the rest of the government works, but I do know one thing...TSA is a complete joke!

    December 10, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  47. perry jones

    no not even close

    perry jones council bluffs ia

    December 10, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  48. Jerrye in Sun Valley Idaho

    As a retired federal worker with 30 years service, I have seen the good and the bad of unions.Unions really do help protect from unscrupulous, vindictive bosses(seen a few of those).However, I have also seen many incompetents kept on the job long past the time they should have been fired simply because of management's fear of the union.To answer your question, however, government workers at all levels are not held accountable enough.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  49. Darren

    If you mean like the ones up on Capitol Hill being accountable to their lobbyist donors, then of course.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  50. Doug - Dallas, TX

    No they're not, unless you count contempt as a virtue. They tend to treat the average American, their boss, as idiots and act like they can do no wrong and if they do it's no big deal. I guess that comes from knowing you can't be fired. There is no accountability so they just thumb their noses at us while we continue to pay them. Another fine example of our government hard at work taking care of all Americans (sarcasm intended).

    December 10, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  51. Bill from Atlanta

    Is this a trick question? Of course they are not accountable – on any level.

    As we head more and more toward socialism just keep in mind what great service you currently receive from all of the government institutions and programs and think how wonderful it will be when the government gets more involved in your life.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  52. Brian Delray Beach, FL

    No, and you are right with regard to their "untouchable" attitude. The whole civil sevice system needs a long overdue review. These employees are, in many cases, underpaid, undertrained and generally unqualified to do the sensitive jobs they do. With all of the security concerns this nation faces we need the best qualified personnel on the job and if it takes a stronger more educated and or trained candidate to fill these positions so be it. This is not the time to be lax and condone less than a real commitment to quality. Let's get the top people and pay them a proper salary.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  53. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    Once a government job is aquired it's your's for life if you want. You have to screw up real bad to be fired and stay fired.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  54. Anthony....NJ

    I see Obama's social secretary, the Fort Hood debacle, and 9/11 and have yet to see any important heads roll. Bush and Cheney ravaged the Constitution and international law only to retire in luxury.
    I worked for the government and saw upper management fudge figures and party hardy while holding their subordinates's feet to the fire.
    It's a culture prone to corruptness as long as those most powerful are immune to accountability. They couldn't even impeach Governor Sanford!

    December 10, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  55. Tony from Southport

    Never have been. Never will be. That's why the federal government should NOT be given healthcare to run.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  56. pat

    only the elected officials are not held accountable.take vice -presidentCheney for example.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  57. george charles paree

    No the congress the president arnt answering to the american people

    December 10, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  58. Jane (Minnesota)

    No – Just look at the ones up at the high end of the scale – those that we elect. They are supposed to work for the voters.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  59. Tom Mytoocents Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    When government employees allow criminal aliens to mock our borders and immigration laws the White House Dinning Room and Airports are next in line. Do we not pay enough already. These jobs are nothing more than welfare disguised as paychecks. Remember to vote April 15th

    December 10, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  60. Peg from NY

    No way!

    December 10, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  61. Sue From Idaho

    No, let them do what captains of sinking ships do. go down with the ship.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  62. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Yes. They should be getting unpaid leave and having some new test done to double check their competence!

    December 10, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  63. Richard Sternagel

    No some of the workers take their jobs for granted and perform like it. Others are hamstrung by the "doing more with less philosophy" that permeates our workforce today!

    December 10, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  64. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Misread your question!

    No. In this example, they should be getting unpaid leave and having some new test done to double check their competence!

    December 10, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  65. J.L from NJ

    This latest goof by federal employees is totally unbelieveable and it should be investigated as a treasonous act. Not to mention everyone from the top down in that agency should be fired. And, the stupid media that publicized it only made it worse. Doesn't anyone have any common sense anymore?

    December 10, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  66. Dennis from Georgia

    Absolutely not! Most are unionized and that pretty much says it all.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  67. Lil Me

    Yes, most government workers are accountable. Government workers are like the rest of us – they're human. They make mistakes and errors of judgment on the job just like the rest of us.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  68. S Callahan NYS

    I worked for State Government before retirement....in my field / dept. we had the utmost accountability though it may have been the nature of the job (CPS)....but no excuses were accepted. I hope that is the case for most agencies....

    what disturbs me more...is the outsourcing to contractors to replace dedicated workers..that is where the risk to security comes in...they are not 'up to policies' and let too much confidential stuff slip out and are not punishable except through their contractor.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  69. pinokeeoh in Tennessee

    No, for one thing most have unions to protect them. There is a reluctance to hold people accountable in government now unless the situation makes it into the news. This administration will protect people who are it's supporters even if they have violated the law. Look how reluctant they have been to prosecute Acorn and black panther and SEIU thugs. Congress has a whole bunch that are being investigated by the ethics committee, but I doubt any will be held accountable for their actions.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  70. david doherty

    No! If they faced the same kinds of disciplinary action that the rest of the working population face everyday like termination, then maybe they would start to appreciate there job a little more and start doing what their paid to do! How can you expect an employee to do what their required to do if you don't have a stick, only carrots.

    Dave from Peterborough, NH.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  71. Mike from Denver

    The words "accountable" and "government worker" should not be in the same sentence. The president has the opportunity to set a good example, but even he perpetuates this lack of accountability on his own staff.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  72. steve in virginia

    Not nearly but how can we expect anything different when their bosses aren't held accountable? Government employees aren't held accountable at any level of government, all the way up to the heads of government, despite mechanisms for doing so.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  73. Jack

    Jack, government employees have not been accountable for a long time, from the lowest levels to the highest, they have certainly been given a lot of leeway with their jobs. It is common knowledge that, in the market, you a required to go above and beyond your job expectations in order to succeed, but in a government job, barely doing the minimum is just fine, and even then sometimes not living up to that meager expectation is no big deal. Time to get serious, especially when we have people sharing secrets about our airport security who can't even operate their security software properly. Enough is enough.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  74. paul schultheis

    They follow the example set by their bosses, the idiots that we elect.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  75. Pete - Augusta Ga

    Jack –

    Obviously government workers are not held accountable enough – in the private sector they would be shown the door. What makes matters worse is government employment continues to grow at alarming rates , even through the current recession. With President Obama's agenda this will only increase more in the future – what are the chances these non-motivated/nonaccountable government workers will seek higher efficiences, develop new products /markets/manufacturing processes, or even add any 'value' ? Slim or None?

    December 10, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  76. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Jack that is like asking if members of congress are fine outstanding men whose main interest if serving the american people. To be frank Jack, most government workers are lazy and only do enough to keep their jobs.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  77. HD in Phoenix, AZ

    That has never been the case.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  78. Chip Brogan, Celina, Ohio


    The saying, "Close enough for government work", exists for a reason. You've hit the nail on the head.

    You're right on the money as far as firing someone too. Not all employees are lazy and inefficient, but a large enough percentage are to warrant making firing a bit easier. My Dad worked in the government and was trying to fire someone he supervised. After about a year of paperwork and trying to build a "Federal" case, he just decided it would be easier to let it go three more years until the guy retired. Sad.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  79. Elise

    It has been a long-time "joke" that if one can secure a government job, all one must do is show up and one is set for life. Unfortunately, that is true. Government workers often are lazy, slow-moving, arrogant jerks who smirk at you when you ask for reasonably efficient service. Complain and you see that the supervisor is also lazy, slow-moving, inefficient, and arrogant.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  80. Annie, Atlanta

    It's not just government workers. When is the last time you actually encountered accountability in your every day life? I've been out of the work force for many years, and cannot believe the level of deterioration of pride in a job well done.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  81. Michael From Canada

    From the Police, to the President of the United States (bush) you can not get justice. They enforce the law, they force the law on you, but they will avoid it being applied to them with every fibre of their being.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  82. Karl from SF, CA

    Of course they aren’t. They can’t be. If it wasn’t for government jobs, many of the people that have them would be unemployable. Government jobs kind of supplement unemployment and welfare except they get great pemsions. We have all seen them or tried to deal with them on the phone, from a DMV clerk to an IRS agent. The Postman that delivers my apartment building doesn’t know who is who after 3 years on this route. He’s beyond slow, but we can’t get rid of him, he has seniority. This really sticks in my craw because my dad was a postman in a small Michigan town from 1948 to 1976 and his coworkers then were more than a cut above what we see today.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  83. Ken in NC

    NO. Not on your life. I would be one of the 16 million jumpers in a heart beat and if your name is not on the invitation list you don't get in. PERIOD.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  84. bulldog4obama

    I ♥ Jack Cafferty!!! HELL NO they're not accountable. I agree with you! With millions out of work, can the idiots and hire those in REAL need!!!!!

    December 10, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  85. Alan L

    I don't think you can have too much accountability but borderline threatening people with their jobs due to mistakes isn't going to help.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  86. Shantell Kekessie

    Government employees are often a scapegoat for a general lack of professionalism among America's workers. Ever order a burger and fries in the drive thru and get the wrong items? Stand in a mile long line in a store and no one ever call for additional cashiers? Try to take care of business over the phone and have to explain your situation 10 times to 10 different people? Face it Jack! We are not the brightest bulbs on the tree! The American work ethic is tragic all around.
    By the way, I'm a government employee.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  87. Tim Howie


    I often disagree with you but thank you for pointing out the waste, fraud and abuse by Federal and State government workers. It's criminal how much waste goes on.

    Our deficit can benefit hugely from correcting the lazy, overpaid, underworked government employess on all levels.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  88. Patty A Banks Palmdale CA

    Administrative leave?....did you say give me some of that?, be careful what you pray for, Jack! 🙂

    December 10, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  89. Robert S. Mellis

    Jack: Government employees model their behavior on the folks in Congress. All of them – ALL OF THEM – seem to have forgotten they work for us.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  90. Ed

    No, but neither are the bankers on Wall Street who cost the taxpayers trillions of dollars. Neither are the health insurance employees who deny life-saving tests or procedures. Neither is the media, which has failed in its First Amenment responsibilty to inform the citizens. Nobody is accountable anymore.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  91. Liz Bentley

    AND, then they get incredible pensions regardless and don't participate in SS. Slap us to wake us all up about Government employees. What can be done!?

    December 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  92. greg lancaster,tx

    Of course not. The problem is that they are just as accountable as wall street bankers, other corporate executives who raid corporate treasuries for salary and bonuses just because their lackies on the board let them.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  93. Paul D.

    My father worked for the government for 35 years. He and his colleagues were competent, dedicated and enterprising. Jack, think how you worded your careless statement about government workers-full of generalities and attacks. What if you substituted the word serviceman or media or nurse or teacher. With the level of service and the stupid decisions made my business every day, it is hard for me to believe that government workers are less competent than anyone else. Leave your biases at home.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  94. Jeff in E. Lyme, CT

    Absoluteley not Jack,

    It seems all local, State & Federal employees are out for themselves or can't be bothered to do anything that isn't covered by a designated form. We also have the pervasive problems of corruption, whether it be roadside executions by police with a God complex, Legislators who pass laws that protect other corrupt lawmakers or Presidential administrations who lie us into wars in order to stuff the pockets of their buddies. I was raised to believe our Nation was "The land of the Free & the Home of the Brave", that we had "Liberty & Justice for All". I've come to the horrible realization that my generation was the victim of propaganda. Here's the bottom line: If you're rich or politically connected, it will be easy for you. Otherwise, you're at the mercy of the those in power and will probably for one reason or other end up bankrupt at the hands of a corrupt lawyer or a corrupt bank.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  95. Jim from Oakland

    Federal Government employees are held accountable, Jack.
    What about TV commentators?
    What about Bank Presidents?

    December 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  96. Tom K.

    Santa Monica, CA

    No they are not accountable. Hate to say it, but the TSA is just another example of a Union gone bad. I used to support my local unions, but now I wonder why we have them.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  97. Bob

    Jack, I have been there and the tools are in place to document a poor workers record. With this documentation a worker can be punished or fired depending on the offense. Problem is that unqualified people are promoted to management because no one wanted them doing the lower work that they themselves were poor at. At a result we now have managers who do not and can not properly document poor workers. If we want to get on the right track start documenting and firing the managers who do nothing.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  98. Mark from Naperville

    Of course not, but neither are employees in the private sector. Accountability is nationwide problem at epidemic proportions in this country right now. The higher up you are the less accountability you have in this world. Obama just completed the most laughable hoax on his electorate running an antiwar campaign yet sending 30,000 more soldiers to their potential death. Who is holding him accountable? We want Tiger woulds held accountable though...cause he slept with some bimbos. What a joke.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  99. George

    You made a slight mistake – when those TSA workers compromised national security, they committed teason. So to your point, US Gov't workers can commit treason and all they get is a paid vacation? Other than that, you are spot-on!

    December 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  100. marber

    As one who worked for government for 25+ years and saw the incompetence and lack of work ethic in too many of the employees who I worked along side of, I can attest to the fact that they are overprotected from discipline and firing. They have more job protection that do union members and that is saying a lot. They have good salaries, great medical coverage and look down their noses at those who are not as well off financially and do not have their great job security.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  101. Dietrich

    Jack, I think your introduction to the question posed is somewhat misleading. These employees are suspended with pay only during the time an investigation into their activities is conducted. Subsequent to that, disciplinary action may be taken, based on the severity of the infraction.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  102. Trapper

    Ya well Jack I can guarantee you that within a few yrs one of those now unemployed would be doing the same thing. It is parrt of being a gov't employee. Look at the good intending peole that campaign for you vote. THEY ALL BECOME MEMBERS OF THE SAME CLUB.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  103. cjwagner

    They cannot be fired??? Please don't spread mistruths. Any employee can be fired. It is just some don't have the nerve to take on a fight.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  104. Dave


    Your TSA story illudtrates exactly why we do not need a government run health care system. It would just be filled with more unaccountable bureaucrats!

    December 10, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  105. Weldon from Canada

    I don't think any of the federal employees are held accountable for their actions. The 5 involved in releasing the screening tactics at airports should all be charged with an act of assisting in future ACTS OF TERRORISM and punished accordingly.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  106. Jose

    Unions do not have an incompetency clause that allows immediate firings! Maybe they should employ the 90/10 rule. Every year the bottom 10% performers regardless of tenure are let go, that would hold them accountable!

    December 10, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  107. Tim in Texas

    No, but then people like Carly Fiorena get fired for doing a lousy job at Hewlett Packard and then get severance pay of 47 million dollars more than 1,000 time the amount of our top paid government worker - the president. And that's for being fired.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  108. Chuck Sheldon

    It's not just government workers! It's teachers, auto workers, most union workers...................all feel entitled to their job with little worry about being "job" competitive or the cost of their outrageous pensions


    December 10, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  109. Roy Casto

    Just No way! I have too many relatives that work or have worked with the Government.

    Google the schedule given for retirement benefits for Government workers opposed to the average "Joe" You just wont believe it!
    It truly takes a act of Congress to get fired from the feds!!

    December 10, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  110. Matt Atlanta

    Absolutely not! And it's the primary reason why government run health care is not a good idea.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  111. Kevin from Indiana

    As a former employee with my local county government, I am disgusted with the effort and abilities of government workers. Never in my life have I worked with such incompetent individuals. No one is accountable for any inefficiencies or failures that occur. If government was run like a business, major changes would be made.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  112. Jesse Warren

    Accountability..you must be kidding. They have jobs for life and probably beyond. There needs to be a citizen review board to weed out the slugs and snobs. In short there is no accountability

    December 10, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  113. Sean Irish

    I have had several jobs in my lifetime–retail, hospitality, and food service. There is a rule called "release of proprietary information" which strictly states that any telling, mailing, emailing, or communication in any form of this information to an outside member of the community is call for immediate dismissal. So if I can get fired for telling my neighbor the proper way to flip a burger, then why shouldn't they be fired for telling people how to pass through security? It's just another governmental double standard.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  114. The Obnoxious American


    The point you raise is precisely why so many of us are against Government getting involved in healthcare. We're not in the deep pockets of insurers or the AMA, we just know that government does nothing well. We also know that government tries to get it's hands in everything. Should this health care bill pass, costs will escalate, quality of care will go down, the private sector options will be destroyed, and we'll be relying on the same government workers that brought us the DMV, FEMA and this latest TSA security breech. God help us if that ever happens.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  115. Bobby louisville, ky

    no jack they are not. Many of them are busy double dipping. They will work one government job for twenty years then collect a pension. They will get another government job for another 20 years or till they retire and collect two pensions. The rest of us work thirty to forty years and pray we can retire.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  116. michael

    i was a govt employee that was just removed from my position after 3 years of dedicated service,numerous awards,and 3 promotions just for leaving some information off of my initial application. it seems like the govt does what it wants to no matter what and the fact it they can do whatever they want no matter what without any questions asked which is a shame.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  117. Jamie Robinson

    I'm Canadian, and I can tell you that this same problem is very persistent.

    I know many people don't like the idea of other people being on government assistance, but anyone on those government assistance programs could easily give you all kinds of sordid tales of getting jerked around by the system. In some cases, people have had to call their local Member of Parliament (our equivalent of a congressman and a senator rolled into one, if I'm not mistaken) after 3 months of putting up with red tape and incompetence. Only then do things get done for people in need.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  118. Alex Burns

    I think the TSA employees should be in custody after being arraigned as traitors. The should be facing treason charges with capital punishment as a possible penalty. They have betrayed the country by putting all their fellow citizens at risk.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  119. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Jack you might want to rethink your comment. All of our military members are government employees as well. Are you calling them lazy and saying they do not try very hard?

    December 10, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  120. Jason king

    This is an age old question. Power will always be abused and corrupted. government is flawed because man is flawed. we're just going to have to get used to it, or run for president.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  121. Lisa, San Jose CA

    I must live on another planet, because in my town on the outskirts of San Jose, the city workers have always been pleasant and efficient, as has been the post office and (for a real shock!) the DMV.
    I think that the ethos of government workers varies by the local culture of each government office. I don't expect that kind of service at some of the other towns in my area.
    As far as unemployed folk looking for jobs, this past week a Target store in Walnut Creek followed a tip about undocumented workers and had to fire 40 of its employees who could not produce documentation of eligibility to work in the US. The longest of these had been illegally employed for 10 years.
    If you want to free-up ill-gotten jobs, we should go after instances of this nature before beating up on government employees. I'm sure Target will have no difficulty filling those positions with qualified people who have the right to work in the US.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  122. Wennie

    As a state employee (teacher), I am accountable for my own performance and that of my students. If government employees were held to the same standard, then they would be accountable for themselves and how well our country performs. Under that kind of scrutiny, I doubt most of them would make the proverbial "cut".

    December 10, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  123. Jim, Naples Florida

    Jack, the government employee credo should be "the buck doesn't stop anywhere and, oh by the way, hand me another donut".

    My father always said if you can't qualify for a job in the private sector, apply for a government job.....

    I think it is time we begin evaluating government applicants and existing employees the same way the private sector does; we just might save a few trillion dollars for future generations.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  124. joe

    I wouldn't give two cents for government employees at any level, from congress to city mayors. on the rank and file level, the union protects them . I think unionizing employees paid with tax dollars is illegally

    December 10, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  125. shelly, ohio

    Jack, Its like asking a 3 year old did you turn the light off they will always say yes but when you go back the light is on. This is the same way with government workers- did you do your job- yes- but when you check they are standing outside smoking and talking how they aren't paid enough... just like I saw at the post office when I went there. No wonder why they can't make a profit.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  126. Larry

    after 30 years of dealing with the government, I can say that they are to be held accountable only to the extent that they are properly trained and that there are enough of them for the tasks of running programs.
    We expect way too much from understaffed, undertrained workers,
    who are constantly working atop shifting sands, as laws change, etc.
    Larry, oregon

    December 10, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  127. Flyingwolf, Manchester NH

    As a former Government employee, (in the city of New York), I can say no. Accountability still depends on who you know not what you know. When I worked for the city we had these evaluations that were supposed to keep workers honest, but they could be signed by anybody in a supervisor position, including a person you worked for only 1 day. The system was and probably still is corrupt, allowing workers to aspire only to mediocrity.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  128. Dave in CT

    Jack, I'm in a one stoplight town and our employees are pretty good. Maybe because we see them all the time. I have always found the majority of state employees to be less concerned with service levels than comparable commercial positions. And Feds... I've learned over my adult years that any career government employee from janitor to Senator or congressman have nmo interest in serving anyone but themselves. I can be fired for being late on any of the several holidays they get and corporate America doesn't. Nevermind the salary imbalance. Do I remember right it was 160% for most jobs?

    December 10, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  129. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    If they cant keep a secret then they need to be baggage handlers with access to no classified information and the government needs to put a tighter lid on the way they put information out without a clasification.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  130. Vince

    Senior law enforcement officials get a pass everytime they are exposed. The unethical acts within the governement as well as our agency go largely ignored. This type of leadership within ATF trickles down. See Cleanupatf.org

    December 10, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  131. R

    No, government employees are NOT held accountable. I have worked in this "government welfare system" for well over a decade and it appalles me at the difficulty you face when you want to hold a government employee (gvmt, military, etc) to to the standards established. You are questioned when you reprimand individuals for failure to meet standards and less than stellar performance reports are very difficult to get approval from superiors. We have created a welfare state where the employee rules the employer and the American people pay the price in an overpowered gvmt and poor service that comes with an arrogant untouchable attitude...Personal info withheld...

    December 10, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  132. Doug in tazewell Virginia

    Hi Jack,
    US workers act just like our so called leaders. Look at what Bush and his bunch got away with. Monkey see monkey do, knowning there is no accountibilty if you don't do as you should. At least these people didn't out a CIA agent.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  133. karla

    My mom was a hardworking city worker who who would only half agree with your assesment of government employees. But we live in a so called Right-to-work state. If you said most Journalist were fame-seeking, walking ego monsters mom might agree 100%.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  134. Bob - Raleigh NC

    give me a break. You cite two incidents that must be investigated. If they are guilty they should be fired. You seem to propose they should be fired immediately. Ok. One of the secret service said you were also there and allowed the knuckleheads in to the White House. Do we fire you? Or do we look at all the facts and firmly establish your guilt. Or maybe you'll smugly reply, "I don't work for the Secret Service" Don't miss the point Jack. If they're wrong, they'll be gone. Until then, lets confirm all the facts and no execute a potentially innocent employee who may have been wrongfully drawn into the incident.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  135. Sam in Juneau, AK

    Jack, Ive seen plenty of people not being held accountable, not just government employees. The experiences Ive had with private business lately has been terrible, they talk rude, behave rude, provide substandard services and products and dont seem to care if you take your business elsewhere. This has been happening for a long time now and the problem is our society accepts it which has allowed it to proliferate. Ive seen plently of employees in private business that should have lost their jobs let alone be placed on admin leave but they never do. Its real easy for the public to point fingers at govt employees but do those same people pointing the finger display or expect the same standards in their own workplaces?

    December 10, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  136. Denis Duffy

    No they are not! Fire them all, starting with Obama, the czars and congress. How soon we forget the Peter Principal.

    Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  137. Mallory

    Being both a student of State University New York and resident, I can honestly say that most are incompetent and are home by 4pm. I won't say all, but only a very few have a passion for their jobs and my peers and myself suffer. I think you should remain on this topic for awhile. Maybe you can shame people in doing a better job.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  138. Birddog in Mississippi

    They should be held accountable in the case of gross negligence. More to the point of the TSA postings online - the way to resolve such problems is to occasionally purposefully post documents that contain misinformation.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  139. Paul

    yesterday I called Social Security and a lady answered the phone and I quote "Social Security how can I help you?' she never gave me her name until I asked, was very rude and not interested in helping me.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  140. Alexis Chase

    City Management, City council and mid-level managers Always get a raise and bonus ALWAYS, even in times when they have lay-offs.
    They push all their work to those making the least. It's an absolute disgrace and should be investigated.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  141. pops

    I agree 100% gov workers are arrogant and complacent...sometimes looking down upon citizens who they are serving are paying their salary...with a look of disdain on their faces.....

    December 10, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  142. Mike M

    So, Gov workers are guilty until proven innocent?! I find that rather interesting considering that one of the things this country has fought for is for one being 'innocent until proven guilty'. Jack, you and many others on this 'blog' who say just the opposite, and 'just burn the gov worker', would be the first to yell foul play if you were considered guilty, and had to prove your innocence.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  143. Tom

    You are so right, need we double the amount of government employees wih the National health plan? probably not.

    The only problem is that those millions of motivated people you mentioned who would be hired, would be tarred with the same brush as with your non-working government workers.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  144. Bob

    It's treason to share secret documents. It is dereliction of duty up to treason to endanger the life of our presedent by not ensuring his security and it is treason to put your person gain above the welfare of the country as a whole... but I dont see the bankers and investors that ran the nation's economy into the ground going to jail for treason, so why should we prosecute or punish NTSA employees who release sensative documents that could get another 1k persons killed in a suicide plane crash? Go figure!

    December 10, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  145. Jack

    One note of dissent. Federal employees used to change with each administration. That got stopped back in the 19th Century. Now we get private business people who have the blessing of their political party and think they can run a Federal entity like they do their business. This arrogance can turn any one off. Besides there are lots of laws now prohibiting that kind of behavior. Congress writes goofy laws and then expects the career government employees to implement them and enforce them.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  146. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    The term accountable is often misused.

    Psychologists define accountable as: to cease a harmful or destructive behavior.

    In that light, we can only be accountable to ourselves. And in doing so requires telling the absolute truth, facing reality, and being self disciplined. This is something that plagues not only these government workers but many individuals. A better example for a lack of accountability using this definition are politicians.

    These workers will not tell the absolute truth, face reality, or exhibit self discipline, therefore will not be accountable for their actions. Culpability and consequences are what they and those chowder head gate crashers should have to look forward to.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  147. MARK PRIBBLE Anna Illinois

    This once again shows how corrupt and out of touch our government is at any level, to send them home with pay, WHAT A JOKE. Maybe they should try sending them to their room with no supper, that will teach them.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  148. H Broket

    No they are not. What you need to realize is now with pay-for-performance and pay parity most Federal workers won't speak up out of fear of not getting that yearly raise or even getting fired. Haven't you noticed the number of public Federal Government failures recently? Each time the agency heads are on the hill with Congress or advising the President the names and work numbers of all the staff members contributing to the information should be provided with the knowledge that they may be contacted to verify the information. Some of the most screwed up agencies are the highest paid – the Financial Agencies. You would not even imagine what they are paying their staff compared to what their qualifications are worth in the private sector. So why do you think they don't speak up? Simply the money.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  149. TSA Thousands. Standing. Around

    Often TSA will go through the metal detectors and it will beep but their buddies will not stop them and screen them. See this all the time in Orlando International. TSA will often jump the line in front of even crewmembers and not even an "excuse me" how rude. Ive often complained to their supervisors but they don't care. thanks

    December 10, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  150. Hellen Lato

    No I do not think that they are held accountable as much as they need to be. If they were alot of our taxpayer dollars would be freed up and maybe we taxpayers could start doing a little house cleaning of own and try and get America back to the way our forefathers intended.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  151. Eileen

    My Government worker neighbor gives herself a four day work week twice a month with sick days and gets to work whenever she makes it in every day. I ask her how she gets away with this stuff? She says, "What are they going to do, fire me? They can't, it's too hard." This same person gets "We appreciate the Government Worker" bonuses throughout the year, her last one in October was for $2,500. She would never last in the real world.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  152. AM

    Jack – first, I think you were too kind regarding the # of unemployed. You said 16mil, but its actually 17mil.

    About your question regarding govt workers ... NO, they are not being held accountable, similar to the entire govt and its foreign policies. Costs (in blood and dollars) brought forth by those policies are significantly higher than any return (if any). But the US govt is so powerful and so 'special', that it can do anything it wants. This attitude is certainly being passed down to most govt employees at nearly every level. We are all power-hungry .. unfortunately, while yearning and being destructive for more power, we forget about the possibilities of having to pay for those acts in the long-run in terms of more taxes, less security and our US dollar being worth less than the paper its printed on.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  153. Jack from Maine

    The truth be told Jack, the people that bash professional federal employees are those that failed the civil service test. Most federal employees are dedicated workers that are paid much less than their private sector counterparts. To say that federal employees are any less accountable for their actions than the banking industry, wall street brokerages or the health insurance industry is just crazy. Just watch Wolf Blitzer's reports.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  154. Joe

    Government workers (at every level, I assume) are barely accountable, at all. I heard a story about one public servant who was checking out a kiddie porn site on his (OUR) government-owned computer before the workday actually began. Prosecuted? No! Fired? No! This government worker had the audacity to defend himself by claiming he had an "addiction" to kiddie porn and sought and was granted protection as an American with a disability.

    Oh, and by the way, Jack, their jobs are not only protected, but their pensions, as well. That's right. These unsuperviseable people not only keep their jobs; we will continue to pay them for the rest of their lives!

    Does no one think we should take a look at these publicly-subsidized pensions as a way of dealing with our deficit?

    December 10, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  155. Luci - Pekin, IL.

    Are you thinking about Sandford from S. Carolina, the Senator from Nevada that paid his mistress off, then gave her husband a job lobbying for him, and any others that weren't named in your question yesterday. Palin quit her job to get out of the ethics problem and on and on and on. I guess what's good for the upper level is good for the Peon's

    December 10, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  156. William

    Jack, I found it interesting when a new coworker had transfered to the USA from Canada. One of his observations was how much less friendly and inefficient the US government offices, such a the Drivers License office, were when compared to those in Canada.

    Could it be that the anti government ideology that has swept America is behind this?

    Are Government Offices intentionally underfunded and understaffed where it can be pointed out " see how badly the Government does things? You don't want more of that, do you"?

    December 10, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  157. Jon Curton

    I do the very best I can every day I work for the State of Michigan. Everyone I work with is also dedicated do doing their best. Your broad catagorization of us as incompentent and unconcerned is offensive to the vast majority of us who work in government. Also, do you inculde firefighters, police officers and teachers in your assumption that all government employees are uncaring and incompentent.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  158. Ted, Aloha, OR

    I quote a time honored old lawyer relationship theory...
    95% of them make the other 5% look bad.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  159. Jeff in Boulder, CO


    Whether I go to the post office, the Department of Motor Vehicles, or even recently to get my marriage license I've noticed one thing...the government employees are rude, lazy, and think they are indispensable. No, they are not accountable because they can't be fired. Government is expanding while the private sector is seeing 17% unemployment (using the real number). And now some want to move healthcare into another government office? Unbelievable.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  160. Daryn Guarino

    You ask "Are government workers at every level accountable enough?" and I reply with "Are government workers at ANY level accountable at all?"

    I have never seen any accountability at all for any government action at any level. A billion dollar problem gets blamed on a lone secretary somewhere and she only gets repirmanded anyway. Most problems gets chased and debated until we, the public, discover that no one is actually in charge of anything and no one has the authority to fix it. Where did millions of dollars of cash go to when we shipped bales of it to Iraq? Nobody knows. We can defund Guantanamo but we still can't close it? Why? We caught a congressman red handed with a $100,000 bribe in cash hidden in his freezer, but still couldn't bust him for it? Pathetic.

    Government is the last refuge of the incompetent and few people consider government workers to be the "cream of the crop". Time and time again, I see lazy incompetent workers, supervised by the same, who are more worried about where they will eat lunch than doing their jobs well, people who cannot be fired for their sheer incompetence, people who cannot be fired because of their sex or race or a myriad of other BS reasons. And when these people float to the surface, like pond scum, to become government supervisors and managers, I am supposed to believe that they suddenly become proficient at the job they were unable to do well yesterday? No, they remain the same worthless, useless shlubs they were yesterday, so don't wonder why things are a mess? Sending the incompetent workers home or instituting real accountability would empty most government offices...and I doubt anyone would feel the loss.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  161. Michael Moschner

    You sir are correct in your comment about the gov employees and their arrogance. We have a building commissioner that makes up rules as he see fit, and leaves everyone guessing about the rules that we as contractors have to abide by. When you ask for an answer to why, he tells me to call an attorney and sue him. He knows he can get away with it and does not have to answer unless like you say commit a felony.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  162. wilbert weems

    Jack, you are wrong about govt,workers there are thousands of hard working govt, workers in our country who fight our wars clean our streets police our neigborhoods deliver our mail pay there taxes and so on.Never lump everyone into one basket,i know you can do better long time fan.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  163. Steve

    Jack- I'm in the military. Remember a couple of years ago when a government employee walked off with a labtop with hundreds of thousands of military members personel information? These are the same people at every level of government. When I retire I'm moving to Canada.

    Steve in Kuwait

    December 10, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  164. Don Bernard

    Placing an employee on administrative leave is the first thing that occurs when allegationa are being looked into. Thank goodness the boss is not the judge and the jury. Remember what Walter Cronkite said...don't try to entertain just report the news.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  165. C.E. Family - Austin, TX


    Now I'm not talking about the President. I'm talking about your run-of-the-mill government worker, whose days consist of coffee break after coffee break, after coffee break. They are rude; incompetent; and a DRAIN on our economy.

    For example, if you call any government agency state or federal, I‘ll bet you will be insulted within three minutes of the conversation. Bad customer service is their badge of honor. If a civilian employee even hinted at such behavior towards a customer, they would be out on their ear.

    I say get rid of some other of those lazy bums so we can pay for Medicare and other social aids. We could probably pay for an entire new infrastructure.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  166. Dale K, Halifax

    These government workers are placed on admin leave, because there is still ongoing investigation pertaining to those respective issues.
    They do hold sensitve positions, and as such, they cannont be at work untill they are cleared to work agin, pending the result of said investigation. If indeed they are found to have compromised national security then they will be removed from there positions entirely.
    You cant just relieve an individual of there responsibilitys at work and send them home with no pay based on speculation. Innocent untill proven guilty,
    Admin leave is the appropriate course of action.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  167. steve steinburg


    I've worked 40 years for the federal government (Dept of the Army), and several years in the private sector. My experience is that government empoyees are as well or better motivated to perform than those in the private sector. Indeed, I have worked with (and supervised) extraordinarily competent federal employees. I've also worked with (and supervised) a number of lemons. There are bad apples in all systems. In Government, where there are morale and performance problems, there are usually a problems with policy or management. By the way, Reagen, Bush, and Bush, did all they could to demoralize the federal workforce. It is a mistake to generalize as you are doing, and to do so with no knowledge of what you are speaking. You really need to read Thomas Franks, The Wrecking Crew.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  168. O.Reece

    No they are not held accountable to the degree that they should be for their gross unprofessionalism and dedication to work. They do not care even a for a momentt that they have all of these people lives in their hands. So I agree with you 200 % and that they can sit at home and continue to collect their paychecks is a hoot and a slap in the face to the general public. Not to mention that they are handsomely paid jobs. Yeah, I would like some of that too.

    I love CNN for the most part. You guys are the big dogs on the block.


    December 10, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  169. Wally - Stuart,FL

    Government workers ride the same train "Tom Dooley" used to ride in the '60s. Once a government worker boards the gravy train, they never get off. They should try to get a real job in the private sector and see how long they last. Many of these government free loaders are not qualified for their jobs and perform at a substandard level.
    Usually, it takes three people to perform a specific job, ie, one to supervise, one on lookout and one to perform the work. Government personnel should be reduced and their benefits should be restructed to meet what we(the private sector) have to face every quarter.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  170. Brian Temple

    I think the question posed is general and has an implied judgment that unfairly criticizes a great cross section of government workers. Most abide by a prudent work ethic, follow honorable principles, and are of great value to the local, state and federal workforce. To make the parallel, the same questions could be posed to the national mass media. Take the CNN reportage of a terrorist activity that took place on the Potomac River near the Pentagon on the anniversary of 9/11. It is elementary in responsible reporting to check facts prior to reporting. However, CNN spammed the airways with reports of possible terrorist action going on, when, in reality, it was a Coast Guard training event. In return,
    So, in the general sense once can pose, "Are reporters at every level accountable enough?"

    December 10, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  171. bob from vancouver

    well Jack
    it takes 3 decades to get this close to passing a watered down health care reform?
    and lots of luck with global climate change
    congress has no problem acting quickly to party crashers but put something of importance before them and gridlock
    when civil servants look for leadership or good examples to follow
    there is not a lot to inspire them in Washington or Ottawa for that matter

    December 10, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  172. Rodger Hart

    what would happen if someone let a suspect baggage through an airport and it exploded would the TSB person who let it go still have his job?? I traveled to the Uk in March i was given the wrong boarding pass for the wrong plane and my luggage was sent on the wrong plane to a different aiport from Charlotte but no one seemed to worry although it was sorted out when i got to the UK but that just of been to late??

    December 10, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  173. joseph in pa

    How can the citizens create change in the way things are done by government agencies. Don't tell me about voting because once elected, the candidate falls in line.
    Also, Obama getting a nobel peace prize! Nothing can be justified no matter what you refer to in our government

    December 10, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  174. Dan in Seattle

    As you said Jack, NO! But the problem goes much deeper than having these employees placed on Admin. Leave. As a Federal employee I can tell you first hand how nearly impossible it is to bring to light major problems. Unless you want to throw away your career. Much is made of the "Whisleblower Program". It's a joke. First of all, the whisleblower is usually moved to a desk in a small room with nothing to do. The people you once worked with no longer talk to you and forget about advancement. These eight (8) or so workers have it good. And I hate to say it Jack, but 'things" are NOT going to change.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  175. Anne Blair, Aiken, SC

    Jack, Today many government employees display this attitude of indifference almost as tho they deserve their paycheck just because they report to work. Other employees who challenge this attitude are labeled troublemakers (whistleblowers) and are removed from government service. Those placed on Administrative Leave w/pay are usually those at high pay levels. Once publicity dies down they wind up being transferred and still staying in positions of authority. What a disgraceful waste of American Taxpayer Dollars. Oh, I forgot this is not a new concept when it comes to Taxpayers footing the bills on waste and corruption!

    December 10, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  176. John in Kollweiller Germany

    Spot on Jack! Not all gov't service workers are underworked, overpaid slackers who should be fired, but all to often we see bad actions unpunished. Child Protective Services, FEMA, Dept of Transportation, US Postal service and the list goes on. What's next...Health Care?

    December 10, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  177. Sandra

    I think its important to remember when things like this happen, the employee taking the fall is usually a scapegoat for a manager or some other higher-paid admin official. Ive worked in government and know that its very rarely that employees fault, more than likely that person was doing what they were told or what their procedures call for. While we are screaming for blood, we need to keep in mind that the person truly responsible will probably not be held accountable, he/she will be protected. Thats the way it works in govt.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  178. Bob Pietropaola

    Are you really qualifide to comment, as you did, on all government employees?

    December 10, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  179. Jon

    Jack, it is more then just the government employees. It is the private sector too. Just take a look at Wall street and how much they ignored the problems, took tax payer money, then gave themselves huge bonuses for doing harm to the economy. Also, while we're targeting government workers, lets take a look near the top and fire any elected official who ignores the voters wishes and listens only to the special interests. (I.E. Liberman, McCain, and just about most conservatives in congress.)

    December 10, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  180. D Carroll White

    At every level the abuse of public employment is a joke on the taxpayer and yet how do we combat these wrongdoings? Our elected members make the same promise year after year, and once elected, work to insulate themselves from the electorate. Its time to take back our country, and we need the president to lead the revolution needed to make responsible these politicians to the electorate, starting with term limits, public only financing of caqmpaigns, and the like

    December 10, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  181. Angie

    Are employees at government level accountable enough?

    If they aren't they should be fired.
    Then people like me can work in their place instead. Gee, give me a chance to jump into the job.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  182. Dave Osterberg

    Military Officers that make bad judgment calls, or have people under them do wrong, get letters of reprimand. This almost always leads to lack of promotion and eventually being RIFed (Reduction in Force). The rest of the government should be run in this manner. If it were maybe the stigma of being a lazy government worker would go away.
    Dave – San Diego County

    December 10, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  183. Kim Hebert

    Are government workers at every level accountable enough?

    That's almost funny. No way. I supervised government employees for over 14 years and I was forced to upgrade more evaluations than I received. All an employee had to do was file a grievance if they don’t like an evaluation and in every case I was instructed to upgrade it. One word, “Union”, it means no accountability what so ever.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  184. shelly


    The answer is no! Not only do they not have to be accountable, they don't even have to show up for work, and get payed anyway. The problem is in the moral standards that our world has excepted these days. If I were to screw up at my job the way some of these government employees have, I wouldn't have a job. I grew up in a home where you couldn't say the word damn, unless you had a report due about the Hoover Dam. People have lost their moral standards, and I think it's very clear that our government employees think that they are above the law, and have no feeling of responsibility to try to set an example.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  185. Hubert Bertrand Oberlin La.

    Heck they can't fine anyone that know how to fire them. They are also walking around in the dark. That is why our country is so messed up

    December 10, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  186. New Father

    They are all union and many get their easy jobs because of who they are or know. I talked to the son of an old GM worker he explained that every member got 1 paid week off it they got drinking. So if something came up and you needed a week paid vacation, just grab a six pack on friday and oops busted guess I'll be back next friday to pick up my paycheck.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  187. Aaron Peavler From Bliss Idaho

    I think these guys should be fired because. 1. the issue is a security breach.2. they leaked reports that are classified to the public. And 3 some are new and are not trained I think you should also stay on this topic.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  188. GWTripp, Mch'sburg, PA

    Wow, Jack. You sound vindictive. So some clowns were over their heads in responsibility and they screwed up. Have you ever had a person working under your direction make a mistake? It is a difficult thing to provide discipline to an otherwise good employee and decent person. Certainly there is some morally righteous corrective measure you may wish to give that has a positive outcome. Suspension with or without pay may be appropriate while investigating the situation, but each case is different. Give the administrator a break, Jack. Lighten up.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  189. Cat in Ca

    I was married to someone whose family all worked in the government many, many years ago. They were proud to do their jobs well. But today you can't find anyone working in a government job who is proud of what they do. Why? Because they don't care about any one but themselves and how much they can bring home with them!!!!!

    December 10, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  190. vern-anaheim,ca

    goverment workers are not accountable for their actions and they know it,i would have given anything to have been a goverment worker and not have to be accountable for anything.many of goverment workers are honest hard working people but many just sit around collecting their salaries for doing nothing and it seems they pick the least qualified people for management positions,"stupidvisors"as i've heard them called

    December 10, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  191. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, can you say "STEREOTYPE". You whole attitude reeks of it. As a 45 year "government worker", 25 yrs active duty and 20 yrs civil service, I can tell you that working for the government, in my case the Department of Defense, is much more demanding than any of your UAW, AFL-CIO, etc, jobs, and we were held to the highest personal and professional standards. If you doubt our dedication, accountability, professionalism, or personal integrity, just ask the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines we support every day, 24/7/365.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  192. Lia in Bradenton

    Now, now , Jack. What ever happened to the concept of "innocent until proven guilty"? Putting someone on leave until a proper inquiry is made was the appropriate action to take. Then, if these same individuals are found to be responsible for the security breach, mete out whatever consequences are in place for federal workers.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  193. Bob from Long Island

    Before we spank people for doing the wong thing. Let's make sure they are told what is right and wrong. Sometimes things aren't clear. If a worker signs off on a policy then we can punish them for bad behaver.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  194. bruce

    every time people hear about government running things it sounds
    inefficient and wastful. who is running those things, over paid, lazy people who have a high salary with good benefit and a union that don't
    let them to get fired.have a open market for their job and things would be much better may be then people can respect government.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  195. Fingal

    I worked in the Federal Government for over 7 years, but left earlier this year in sheer disgust. Despite the job security and benefits, I could no longer take the arrogance and incompetence all around me. Yes, there are bad employees in the public and the private sector, but the difference is that the invisible hand of market forces sooner or later corrects the inefficiencies in the private sector. In the public sector, the bad guys not only stay, they thrive by sucking up to the bosses and backstabbing other employees. There is no meritocracy in the Federal Government; it's who you know and how well you are liked. There is PLENTY of wasteful spending on inept, overpaid civil servants, and it's time the American public know about it.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  196. William of Michigan

    Accountable? They are not accountable whatsoever. People know that if and when you "land" a federal job, you are set for life. If they were in the private sectore where we actually have to make a profit and
    go by the laws, they could not make it, and usually don't.

    Have any of you been to an airport and "seen" these TSA idiots?
    They will let three Arabs walk by, and jerk out and screen an 85 year old white American. Most of them are sloppy, dressed poorly, and
    act like they are doing everyone a favor.

    Establish a way to complain about them. Enough complaints, gone.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  197. Randy from Salt Lake City

    These government employees are only following the example of our non-leadership in the Congress, Senate, President and Supreme Court in that you can do anything and not be accoutable for it, whether it be illegal wars, torture, illegal wiretapping, illegal rendition, illegal imprisonment, murder, rape, fraud and a slew of other illegal acts our goverment is doing to us each and every day.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  198. Kevin, Chester Springs PA

    You know, some times, close enough for government work just isn't close enough. In the real world, if you screw up you get fired. So it's time to get real with government workers.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  199. Sarah Tilman

    Quiet as it is kept, the military personnel are government workers too.

    If you are retired & receive Social Security, who do you think make sure you receive it on time!!!?

    I am sick of the global criticism of all government workers, because of a small number of lousy ones!!!

    Who brought down the economy ?- many banks, large corporations in the private sector!!! Who did they run to, to fix it???

    There are lazy folks on all levels – so, giving government workers a bad name. There are some mean junkyard dogs in the public that can tick one off a public-facing government servant.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  200. victtor

    Jeck, of course not. Our local, county and state governments are a joke. There has never been any type of accountability from the top positions all the down to the bottom. When you have a government that hires a bunch of inept individuals. The end result is going to be a bunch of failures without any consequences. Another item I don't like is why does every government employee belong to a union? Shouldn't there employment be based on performance and not tenure? I'm a college grad in a professional career and I don't have nor do I need a union to bargin or keep me from being fired. Why? Because I care about my job and I perform according to my set goals and do what I can to make our company more profitable. It's as simple as that.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  201. Dick Taylor

    Mr. Cafferty,

    Your comments about Federal employees not being fired illustrates how uninformed you are about Federal employment. Federal employees can be and are fired. As a former HR Specialist I particpated in the seperation for cause of Federal employees in more than a hundred cases. You shouldn't speak of something apparently you know little about. A Federal employee could be fired for such.

    Dick Taylor

    December 10, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  202. pete

    Hell working for the government is like working for the unions in the 1990’s... good times ….good times
    But what took the unions to figure out 15 years that putting crap out might make you lose your health care or your job. It’s gone take a federal bankruptcy to the federal government. Keep up the good work federal and state employs lol. I just remembered I have to pay my state car registration next month. good times ….good times…..lol

    the colony tx

    December 10, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  203. Ron from SF

    When I worked at Bofa, we said things like: "Screw up, move up" and "Scum rises to the top." In both, you have folks who are not accountable. For example, look at the CEO's who are getting multi-million dollar pay packages, despite running their companies into the ground. Their performance sucks, the government has to rescue their sorry behinds and can't cut their compensation. Then there are employees in the Public Health, who make life and death decisions all the time and mistakes not only can cause termination, but folks can loose their licenses. I work in Public Health and often have no choice as to the hours and shifts I work, with little or no notice. In an emergency, I'll have to leave my family behind and Instead focus on the needs of the public and 've accepted that. I resent your unfair generalization.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  204. Jim


    Characterizing all by the mistakes of a few? Slippery slope, Jack.

    Reno, Nevada

    December 10, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  205. steve in virginia

    Seems to depend who you ask. Government workers seem to think they're great, diligent workers who are held accountable while those of us who depend on them think otherwise. Maybe we need some hard data- the percentage of government workers who have been fired in each of the last 10 years.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  206. Estela

    Jack, you took the words right out of my mouth. My husband has been a government employee for 26 years and my best friend for 23 years. The level of incompetence that they have to deal with, on a daily basis, even from their own supervisors, is frustrating. There is no solution for their problem because government employees, on any level, are not accountable at all. There are employees who are lazy, incapable of doing their job, emotionally unstable, mentally disturbed, unashamed bare-faced lairs, unprincipled, etc. They abuse the system to the extreme and even if they get the lowest kind of evaluation at the end of the fiscal year, there are no consequences for their lack of respect. The most that could happen is that, on extreme cases, a bad employee will be transferred to another office or government agency, therefore become somebody else problem. The consequences of this can some times be devastating, just look at the employment background of the murderer at Fort Hood.

    I am writing to you from Benicia, California.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  207. Peter s

    No Jack!! the complex, fragmented structure of the federal system is a major obstacle to flexible Government. The widespread distribution of power protects the Nation against irresponsible political behavior. But it also compromises decision making process and diminishes governments ability to change- the more the participants in decision the more unwidely the decision-making process becomes and the longer it takes to reach a conclusion!. To make the Government efficient enough and hold government workers at every level accountable most of them have to be either fired or retrained. We are talking about TSA!!! Jack ! you dont know anything untill you deal with Immigration officials. Most of them barely know or understand their job! how they got those jobs only God knows.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  208. K

    No way. government workers write their own rules even though we are their employers.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  209. MNResident

    Two words–HELL NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 10, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  210. John Schulte

    I've been a volunteer in Minneapolis for over 5 years because the people getting paid by the city can not, or will not, do their jobs.

    After the waste and lack of will in just this one city, I get sick to think of whats going on nationwide.

    Much of the problem comes from political weaklings that are influenced by protected classes and unions to keep unproductive people. Another problem here is people retiring from public jobs and receiving a pension equaling their normal work salary at retirement. Many over $100,000 per year.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  211. Ed from California

    Your workforce is as good as it's leaders. We need to hold the department heads liable and their bosses. And yes, you can be fired at any level for gross infractions. Union, non-union it doesn't matter.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:58 pm |