Letter to the editor

The key assumption of Milt Zall's column, {/fcw/articles/2001/1210/mgt-milt-12-10-01.asp} "Place security before politics," is that federal employees would do a better job.

There is no evidence to support such an assumption, and there's even evidence that federal employees do a much worse job than private employees.

I personally worked with Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Energy Department employees and can assure you that the quality of the individuals that I encountered was inferior. I could present many examples if you wish to debate. The handling of Three Mile Island was a "Keystone Cop" response by NRC. I am sure all other agencies are the same.

The concept that high pay equals high-quality work is just not true. I worked for the federal government as a co-op during college — just long enough to know I did not want to make a career of mediocrity. At the time, federal employees had high job security, low pay and produced low quality work. In the early 1960s, the pay was increased, but no one was replaced; thus there was high job security, high pay and low quality.

Federal employees should never be paid more than the private employees, and their benefits should never be better. Federal employees have always had better benefits than the private sector. Federal retirement was so good that it had to be converted to the Social Security system to keep things even.

The major problem with federal employees is that there is no "bottom line" basis for judgment of success. Thus federal programs go on and on and on with no basis for continuation. In the private sector, a bad organization would show a loss and be terminated. When a federal employee makes a mistake, they are promoted to get rid of them. And old saying was, "Make a big mistake when you start as a government employee, they will forget the mistake, but remember your name".

Also, the federal government has placed social programs above productivity. The result has been a disaster.

The failure of communism should be proof to anyone that big government will not work. Capitalism is the only way to get the best product for the lowest cost.

I feel that Milt Zall is just playing politics himself. He is a Democrat and doesn't like Republicans. Well, I am a Republican who thinks big government by the Democrats is a disaster.

Please ask the editors of Federal Computer Week to publish my response and pay me as they did you.

Name withheld by request

Editor's note: FCW did not pay the letter-writer, so he asked for his name to be withheld.

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