We need more financial responsibility in Government

Posted in the Copperas Cove Forum

Old Federal Employee

Killeen, TX

#1 Mar 26, 2011
To whom it may concern,

I am writing to you in order to express my views on how the Federal system works and how we can fix it. I have worked for the Federal government for over 20 years at Fort Hood Texas. I pride myself on being financially astute and being an opportunist.

The gist of this letter is not criticize anyone but to, hopefully, help others to understand why our country is in such a financial mess. This is just my personal perspective and does not reflect anyone elseís viewpoints.

Millions, maybe Billions of federal dollars can be saved if we would change the way we do business. In my years, I have worked with several federal agencies . I have found a common theme that echoes each time the subject of budget is brought up. When purchasing products for each division the thoughts of managers are: If I donít spend my yearly allocations of funds then I will be cut the next year. So towards the end of the year July, August time frame- managers goes on a spending spree to use up the rest of their budgets. How much money is that? I honestly donít know, but in my limited case I have personally seen millions of dollars foolishly spent in order to use up the end of year monies.

Example: where I work we have monitoring units. These units cost over 20K each. A few years ago we received all new units (8 of them). Two years ago we got rid of these units and purchased new ones, identical to our old ones- even though we did not need them. Our old ones were in perfect working order. We have these new ones for just over 2 years and then we ,(you guessed it) purchased another lot of new ones (at almost 30K each). Simply put: the reason our manager (in confidence) gave was that if we not been able to spend our current year allocated budget then we would have lost (cut) funding for the next year. The ones we turned in were again perfect condition and had no deficiencies and did not need replacement.

Also a significant increase in personnel. We almost doubled in size in the last 6 years in regards to personnel. When the war was at its peak we did need some additional help, but now employees have less to do than ever. My workload has never been so light.(as others in my division). But management keeps pushing for more personnel.(?).

I could give many, many more examples of this exact type of waist that we have with the Federal system, but I donít want to ramble.

To give a possible solution I propose we change the way the budget is run. We make supervisors and personnel who run the budgets to be directly responsible for the financial well being of their departments. So how do we accomplish such a task? No I do not have all of the answers, but I do have a basic suggestion. That suggestion is: make managers/ supervisors responsible for cutting their own budget. The amount that can be cut would be totaled and that manager would receive an end of the year bonus (1%?). Managers would be encouraged to cut where they could and also not be encouraged to spend (waist) monies unnecessarily. The result would be a budget surplus from most of government departments.

I strongly believe in what I am writing about. I have seen this type of system work within a local city and that city is currently in great financial shape.
retiredgovtemplo yee

Copperas Cove, TX

#2 Mar 26, 2011
Old Federal Employee wrote:
To whom it may concern,
I am writing to you in order to express my views on how the Federal system works and how we can fix it. I have worked for the Federal government for over 20 years at Fort Hood Texas. I pride myself on being financially astute and being an opportunist.
The gist of this letter is not criticize anyone but to, hopefully, help others to understand why our country is in such a financial mess. This is just my personal perspective and does not reflect anyone elseís viewpoints.
Millions, maybe Billions of federal dollars can be saved if we would change the way we do business. In my years, I have worked with several federal agencies . I have found a common theme that echoes each time the subject of budget is brought up. When purchasing products for each division the thoughts of managers are: If I donít spend my yearly allocations of funds then I will be cut the next year. So towards the end of the year July, August time frame- managers goes on a spending spree to use up the rest of their budgets. How much money is that? I honestly donít know, but in my limited case I have personally seen millions of dollars foolishly spent in order to use up the end of year monies.
Example: where I work we have monitoring units. These units cost over 20K each. A few years ago we received all new units (8 of them). Two years ago we got rid of these units and purchased new ones, identical to our old ones- even though we did not need them. Our old ones were in perfect working order. We have these new ones for just over 2 years and then we ,(you guessed it) purchased another lot of new ones (at almost 30K each). Simply put: the reason our manager (in confidence) gave was that if we not been able to spend our current year allocated budget then we would have lost (cut) funding for the next year. The ones we turned in were again perfect condition and had no deficiencies and did not need replacement.
Also a significant increase in personnel. We almost doubled in size in the last 6 years in regards to personnel. When the war was at its peak we did need some additional help, but now employees have less to do than ever. My workload has never been so light.(as others in my division). But management keeps pushing for more personnel.(?).
I could give many, many more examples of this exact type of waist that we have with the Federal system, but I donít want to ramble.
To give a possible solution I propose we change the way the budget is run. We make supervisors and personnel who run the budgets to be directly responsible for the financial well being of their departments. So how do we accomplish such a task? No I do not have all of the answers, but I do have a basic suggestion. That suggestion is: make managers/ supervisors responsible for cutting their own budget. The amount that can be cut would be totaled and that manager would receive an end of the year bonus (1%?). Managers would be encouraged to cut where they could and also not be encouraged to spend (waist) monies unnecessarily. The result would be a budget surplus from most of government departments.
I strongly believe in what I am writing about. I have seen this type of system work within a local city and that city is currently in great financial shape.
In civil service we constantly hire more people. this allows the current managers to reorganize, reduce work for some employees and pad other employees with the same work in an attempt to upgrade their positions. once the employee gets upgraded, then it is only natural for a the manager to go for an upgrade. we call this the creeping grade structure. split a branch into 2 branches. guess what then you need a division chief to oversee the 2 branches.
and contracting just loves it when more work is contracted out. you increase the small army of contractor oversight positions.
Charlie Youngs

Waco, TX

#3 Mar 27, 2011
retiredgovtemployee wrote:
<quoted text>
In civil service we constantly hire more people. this allows the current managers to reorganize, reduce work for some employees and pad other employees with the same work in an attempt to upgrade their positions. once the employee gets upgraded, then it is only natural for a the manager to go for an upgrade. we call this the creeping grade structure. split a branch into 2 branches. guess what then you need a division chief to oversee the 2 branches.
and contracting just loves it when more work is contracted out. you increase the small army of contractor oversight positions.
Please don't forget to add the following: since contractors are more expensive by the hourly rate then a GS employee the more work that is contracted out, the more contractor personnel will be brought on by the contractor and more hours will be charged to the govt.

Charlie Youngs
Charlie Youngs

Waco, TX

#4 Mar 27, 2011
If you really want to get an idea of waste and/or govt programs that could be cut go to www.taxpayer.net .

This covers many programs in the following areas:

--Agriculture =$52 billion (4 programs)
--Defense =$52 billion (5 programs)
--Energy =$22 billion (9 programs)
--Infrastructure =$3.8 billion (7 programs)
--Transportation =$18.5 billion (9 programs) Did you ever hear about the "Bridge to Nowhere" up in Alaska for about $500 million. Thought it was dead? The Gravina Island Access bridge is still alive and well in the budget for $300 million. The state of Alaska spent $26 million to construct a 3 mile Gravina Access Highway which would serve access to the Gravina bridge if the bridge is ever built. But again, the project is still listed in the Federal Govt's budget for $300 million.

If you go to that web site you can find all kinds of projects that should and in some cases being recmmended for cuts.

Charlie Youngs
retiredgovtemplo yee

Copperas Cove, TX

#5 Mar 27, 2011
Charlie Youngs wrote:
<quoted text>
Please don't forget to add the following: since contractors are more expensive by the hourly rate then a GS employee the more work that is contracted out, the more contractor personnel will be brought on by the contractor and more hours will be charged to the govt.
Charlie Youngs
Yes and they have this little phrase called "pass back" this is when someone decides the military personnel who have the task to perform a function but don't have time because of other miscellaneous duties the work is passed back to the contractor. In the meantime, might have some soldiers doing tedious tasks while the technical stuff is done by the contractors who are usually former soldiers. This results in the soldier not acquiring or maintaining proficiency in their speciality and causes problem in deployments.

At one time one of the big contractors had it spelled out in the contract that they were to be the sole provider for a particular requirement even though we had willing abled bodied military to do the work. Yes, paying for the same work twice since soldiers are salaried. Many years ago one commander actually deployed a maintenance platoon to the former Bergstrom Air Force base to get his personnel ready for deployment since the contractor was the sole authority on Ft Hood.
Anonymous

Killeen, TX

#6 Mar 28, 2011
There are a lot of necessary spending programs that can be revamped. Like myself, I have had the pleasure of talking with several veterans that are in need of compensation but are denied. A soldier gets 60% for PTSD because basic training messed with his poor little head and now he has a hard time sleeping. Ridiculous! I'm all for the military and support what the V. A. is doing to provide assistance to these fine men and women. But to still be on active duty with a full military paycheck, receive disability and social security all at the same time seems a bit unjust to though's who for over 20-40 years that have been trying to receive just a little compensation for injuries while serving during peace time and war. Maybe I am ranting too much and should just shut my trap, but I do feel that since we did not serve during this last decade that we are overshadowed by the current events. We are not in the public view and are left out/pushed aside in favor of the individual who got three stitches in their hand while in basic and can claim 50% disability when they leave the military three years later.
wobbley

Killeen, TX

#7 Mar 28, 2011
Branches wrote:
I'm all for the military and support what the V. A. is doing to provide assistance to these fine men and women. But to still be on active duty with a full military paycheck, receive disability and social security all at the same time seems a bit unjust......
Branches, your assertion that active duty military members are able to receive Social Security disability and VA benefits while serving on active duty is just plain wrong.
just me 7

Killeen, TX

#8 Mar 30, 2011
In my area of work on Fort Hood, we medically retired an employee who worked for only 3 years. She does get a medical retirement for the rest of her life. She hurt her back while on duty. But now that same employee works at an identical job in Iraq. Must be nice.

Since: Nov 09

Killeen, TX

#9 Mar 31, 2011
wobbley wrote:
<quoted text>
Branches, your assertion that active duty military members are able to receive Social Security disability and VA benefits while serving on active duty is just plain wrong.
You are totally wrong!!! Call the Social Security Office and ask about the "Wounded Warrior Program", or just look it up on the Social Security Administration web site. We are in fact paying active duty Soldiers Social Security benefits.
Pedro

Kempner, TX

#10 Mar 31, 2011
We need to get a cap on City Managers, School superintendants and High school couches State wide.
wobbley

Killeen, TX

#11 Mar 31, 2011
Retired CPO wrote:
<quoted text>
You are totally wrong!!! Call the Social Security Office and ask about the "Wounded Warrior Program", or just look it up on the Social Security Administration web site. We are in fact paying active duty Soldiers Social Security benefits.
Here is what SSA has to say.......

http://www.socialsecurity-disability.org/cont...
old federal employee

Killeen, TX

#12 Jun 16, 2011
Please read the 1st post. : just an update to my original post. Although our workload is low and the cases each of us handle is very few(1-3 /day),we have personnel who walk around waiting for something to do/ you guessed it- we are hiring More personnel. Yes there is suppose to be a hiring freeze on FH but the powers above justified to the commander that we need more personnel and more equipment. PLEASE understand there is not a rational person in our organization that cannot see this as a complete waist of money. If anything we are very overemployed. I am so looking forward to retirement (if it still exist) Truely unbelievable
JOHN S

Waco, TX

#13 Jun 17, 2011
Why don't you write a complete report to fraud waste and abuse? Instead of hiding on this site and crying when in reality you are part of the problem for not doing anything about it just like everyone else getting that fat check and benefits from the same employer you are critizising. If you really care write a complete detail report and stop whining. I bet you will find many unfounded reasons not to and will continue collecting your check and benefits. Complaining, complaining and not doing anything about make you part of the problem.
Pedro

Kempner, TX

#14 Jun 17, 2011
JOHN S wrote:
Why don't you write a complete report to fraud waste and abuse? Instead of hiding on this site and crying when in reality you are part of the problem for not doing anything about it just like everyone else getting that fat check and benefits from the same employer you are critizising. If you really care write a complete detail report and stop whining. I bet you will find many unfounded reasons not to and will continue collecting your check and benefits. Complaining, complaining and not doing anything about make you part of the problem.
Why should a man/women give up a good paying job when it's not their fault or they are not doing anything wrong?
old federal employee

Killeen, TX

#15 Jun 18, 2011
John, actually you have a valid point. Except the fact I did turn in my boss when we hired 16 additional personnel we did not need. Results: I was told the positions were approved by authority- thus there is no fraud, waist or abuse. I then contacted my congressman, Mr. John Carter with no responce. Sorry I sound like I am whinning, but I thought I could try to get other to write thier congressperson or other to help with this. I even presented a reasonable solution to the problem in that we develope ways of curving the spending by rewarding managers who will turn in the end of the year monies instead of waisting it. I hope YOU will take up some action, other than critizing me, and address this to you elected officials. I do want to do something else about- Got any constructive suggestions?
Questioner

Castell, TX

#16 Jun 18, 2011
JOHN S wrote:
Why don't you write a complete report to fraud waste and abuse? Instead of hiding on this site and crying when in reality you are part of the problem for not doing anything about it just like everyone else getting that fat check and benefits from the same employer you are critizising. If you really care write a complete detail report and stop whining. I bet you will find many unfounded reasons not to and will continue collecting your check and benefits. Complaining, complaining and not doing anything about make you part of the problem.
Going against management often incites retaliation. To often any deviation from the 'party line' results in punishment, professionally and often personally. Reporting any mistake, omission or oversight by management is usually bad for a career. That is not the way it ought to be, but unfortunately that is, to often, the way it is. An individual's decision depends on how much he or she has to loose. When a worker becomes 'financially' secure courage increases.
John have you ever been in this situation?

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