Letter to the editor

I am one of the federal dolts referred to by Mr. Mitchell Daniels Jr. ["Daniels: Fed IT workers 'not the best'"].

I admit, I am probably not one of the best the nation has to offer. My official title is LAN administrator. Now please allow me to describe some of my job responsibilities:

* Network administration and maintenance of all Novell Inc. NetWare and Microsoft Corp. Windows NT/2000 operating systems.

* Web site administration.

* Webmaster for our Internet site.

* Web designer for our Internet site.

* Server and workstation backup and restores.

* Software installation, upgrades and maintenance for servers and desktop computer systems.

* Application software installation, customization and user support.

* Hardware upgrades to aging systems (servers and PCs).

* Replacement of older computers to include software installation and setup.

* Administration and maintenance of three e-mail systems.

* Testing of new mail system and training of user community in its use.

* Administration of case-imaging system to include installations of new server and workstation software and database maintenance.

* Administration of antivirus software and virus signature installations.

* Installation of an unending stream of software patches.

This is a partial list of my responsibilities. I can't speak for other federal employees, but I would bet that most are in the same boat I am. I have to be a jack-of-all-trades to do my job. Trying to perform our jobs —i.e., putting out the daily fires —doesn't leave a lot of time for long-range planning.

I don't wish to criticize Mr. Daniels, but he appears to have very little understanding of the effort and knowledge required to be in this profession.

I am also wondering about the "boost for techies." What are we to learn from the private sector? Innovations, such as tires that suddenly deflate when you least expect it? Or perhaps the fine art of finger-pointing?

Perhaps the titans of industry can teach us how to more efficiently install a software patch. A huge amount of money would be available for salaries if the software industry were required to reimburse the government for the hours spent by government information technology professionals patching defective software.

Name withheld by request

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