Gov Careers

By Phil Piemonte

Blog archive

Getting rid of the deadwood

“Employees should be retained on the basis of the adequacy of their performance.”

So begins the sixth Merit Principle, which goes on to say that “inadequate performance should be corrected, and employees should be separated who cannot or will not improve their performance to meet required standards.”

Although some critics (including some feds themselves) complain that there are feds who just don’t pull their weight, the Merit Systems Protection Board points out that the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 — which codified the nine Merit Principles — “was designed to address was the difficulty of discharging employees for poor performance.”

Before the act became law, MSPB says, one lawmaker characterized the web of rules and regulations governing civil service as the “refuge of the incompetent employee.”

That same lawmaker, Sen. Abraham Ribicoff, noted that when “incompetent and inefficient employees are allowed to stay on the rolls, it is the dedicated and competent employee who must increase his workload so that the public may be benefited.” (Anyone who has worked in any job, public or private, can identify with that one.)

The act added a chapter to the U.S. Code called “Performance Appraisal” and authorized new standards for evaluating performance —and sanctions of removal or demotion for unacceptable performance.

So the means to discharge the worst performers are laid down in law, according to MSPB.

So we ask you: Does it work?

Posted by Phil Piemonte on Jun 07, 2011 at 12:13 PM


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