Remember the good old 20th century, when all you had to give was your name, rank and serial number? But that was then, this is now. So…
Will current and future federal workers be required to supply a sample of their DNA when they move up into the career executive ranks?
Probably not. But the way things are going, it’s a thought!
In recent years, members of Congress have taken a lot of flak for the fact that so many of them became millionaires even though they haven’t had a raise in several years, and currently are forced to get by on about $174,000 per annum. A fair number of House and Senate members — some who later became presidents — managed to stash away millions of dollars in the 1960, 70s, and 80s, despite earning as little as $30,000 a year as recently as 1968. Did they give up smoking or start taking a brown bag lunch to the office?
More often than not, the answer is probably or what?
Can you say insider trading?
At any rate, Congress recently tightened the rules on using insider knowledge to fatten the old wallets. In so doing, they decided that about 28,000 senior civil servants should also bare it all too. So they passed the STOCK Act (Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge) that was signed into law earlier this year.
Many members of the public, and some career executives, have no problem with STOCK’s disclosure requirements. They say it is part of being a public employee. To them the salary, and personal financial holdings — stocks, etc. — should be out there for all to see.
For many executives, however, it is another burden piled on what many say is increasingly becoming a thankless job. “I don’t mind being required to file financial disclosure statements with the government,” an executive said last week, “but I do mind it all being made public for anyone to see. ”
Another emailed that, “…the business about posting salaries of rank-and-file employees and executives is nothing. You should take note of what is being done to the executive corps — SESs, STs, and Sls — with the recent Stock Act. You have to wonder about what this will do for recruitment of senior managers in future. Plus it’s retroactive for current employees, so there is no way out.”
So we did just that. On our Your Turn radio show yesterday, Bill Bransford, talked about the dangers — to executives and the greater civil service — of the STOCK Act. He’s general counsel of the Senior Executives Association which has been fighting it since it was first proposed.
Bransford warned that establishment of a public data base of financial information on executives is problematic from the get go. In congressional testimony Bransford said the requirements for disclosure will “violate the rights to privacy (of executives) could subject them to “unwarranted personal scrutiny by their subordinates, causing tensions and problems in the workplace.”
The pre-election Congress, in a partial effort to take some of the insider trading heat off itself, was quick to okay the STOCK Act. Perhaps because of the elections many members, who normally come to the defense of feds, are not saying much, if anything, about a possible repeal. For an update, listen to Your Turn by clicking here.