The Friday-faithful feds

What do you do when you get 1,300 precious gems but only have space for a few of them? Like about how many would fit into this column space?

That’s what happened to me last Friday when I wrote a column which asked if there was anybody out there on a beautiful Friday before Father’s day? I asked because it was a change from the (lately) usual bad news, and also because a colleague said he suspected that in FedLand Friday is a time out for many people. After all, Friday especially in summer, tends to be a slow day in the news biz.

Turns out federal offices are not deserted on Fridays. We heard from G-men and women based in Quebec, the Philippines, Taiwan, as well as less exotic places, like Colfax, Washington, Austin, Atlanta, New York City, Auburn, Ala., Manchester, N.H., Montana and just about every state. Many said Fridays are their most productive days. A couple said they put in 10 and 12 hour sessions because they had work to do, that it helped people (VA, IRS, Defense, Forest Service) and they like what they do.

The first three email responses came from JoeRez, Ken Sabel and Ann D. Lucas and her HHS lab group. Then they poured in.


On a Friday yet!

One said she and her Virginia-based team couldn’t respond earlier because they were working long hours in Cleveland on a project for and about the Marine Corps.

I’m going to keep all the emails and — when I get back from vacation — try to answer them all. But for now a general thank-you. I picked this one because it says a lot and doesn’t take up much space:

“Yes Mike, there are still many of us at ‘the office’ on Friday (even though it’s a glorious spring day in New York, two days before Father’s Day). And yes, there are still many of us who show up for work each day, put in 100 percent, serve the public with absolute respect, do what’s ethically right (not what’s easy!), and go home with a small amount of satisfaction that we’ve helped people during our tour of duty. As a federal employee, I strive to set an example for my coworkers and for the taxpayers that I serve. In doing so, I hope for some sort of career advancement someday. Sound reasonable?

However I must say that with all of the absolute vitriol coming from our elected officials (the very people who employ us and who are themselves public employees!) I see my career vanishing before my eyes. Their comments have left the realm of public debate and have become mean-spirited attacks for the purpose of gaining political mileage.

I am further appalled at the toll that this is taking on my fellow employees. Many like me are members of the ‘sandwich generation’ and are genuinely dedicated to doing a quality job, as well as raising a family, caring for loved ones and possibly retiring before we turn 90. We are also taxpayers and voting members of the middle class.

So yes, we are still here, but I sincerely wonder for how much longer . . .” — Bob in Holtsville

More to come. Meantime…

I’d urge you to send this to your representative and your two senators. But they are probably off today.


By Jack Moore

According to Restaurant News, pie is becoming the newest trendy dessert, vying with cupcakes for top popularity. But did you know the first pies were filled with meat and called “coffins?”


Commerce Secretary John Bryson resigns
John Bryson has resigned as secretary of the Commerce Department. The resignation comes nearly two weeks after he suffered a seizure while in California. Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank has been serving as acting secretary since Bryson took medical leave immediately following the seizure.

House committee remains mum on federal pay raises
The Financial Services and General Government spending bill seeks to cut $2 billion from the president’s request. The bill says nothing about granting feds a pay raise in 2013. The House committee follows the lead of Senate appropriators, which also remained silent on the issue.

GAO: Faulty system lists rat-infested buildings in excellent condition
The main resource for tracking federal properties is plagued by unsound data collection efforts, inconsistent standards and inaccuracies, according to a new Government Accountability Office review. Among properties listed in “excellent condition” were buildings with collapsed ceilings, rat infestations and, even, radiological contamination.