Letter: Performance pay diminishes freedom, protection
Regarding "Pay for performance hammered at House hearing," a reader writes: Government employees enforce government policy. When policy rules are broken, this can cause philosophical disagreements between employees and managers. Sometimes policy costs more money and that eliminates joy between managers and sponsors. Pay for performance eliminates protection from negative personnel actions by managers who can harass and fire employees who don't cooperate when asked to overlook policy violations. This is one of the most basic reasons government employees are needed.
As an example, if a contractor traveling on a diplomatic passport breaks a foreign law, the government is prohibited from taking any action against that person directly and the foreign country cannot incarcerate them. Ordinary U.S. citizens are not subject to foreign law and are not subject to human resources policy. A diplomatic passport is a "get-out-of-jail-free" card. If the lawbreaker works directly for the federal government then that person can be fired (or worse). Policy consists of rules and regulations that deviate from public law to cover situations like this.
The only way to make contractors subject to policy is to expose the general public to punitive actions based on government rules established by nonelected individuals. I hope it is clear from this explanation that represents a loss of freedom.
Government employees must have protection from managers and pay for performance eliminates that protection. The result is a slide down a slippery slope.
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