Letter to the editor

Following is a response to an FCW.com poll question that asked: "Do you favor dividing the Senior Executive Service into a corps of managers and a corps of technical experts?"

I am not considered a computer specialist. My job series (GS-1515, operations research) is considered "scientific," but it does not recognize the fact that my job can only be done effectively by use of advanced computers, applications and purpose-written software.

Gone are the days when I could do my calculations on the back of an envelope. I do more "data mining," database design and basic programming, plus research into software applications than most "computer specialists."

I probably require more computing power than any three other nonscientific job series holders in my organization, but my office (consisting of four GS-1515s and one GS-2210 — information technology specialist) has to make do with relatively slow desktop computers that have small amounts of memory, small hard drives and three-generations-old peripherals because I don't have the visibility to the public that the secretary to the general at headquarters has.

Obviously, e-mail and word processing is a higher priority than seeing that the civilian workforce has the tools it needs to accomplish the mission. I am positively embarrassed when I go on temporary duty because all the contractors I meet have twice the capability in their laptop computers than I do in my desktop machine.

Name withheld by request


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