The blame game

Your editorial Oct. 24 called for Congress to make it easier for the VA to fire employees. I worked in a civil service system as an employee, supervisor, manager and administrator for over 37 years. During that time I fired a number of people for failing to perform. Those were my failures. I also had many successes, some of whom promoted out from under me. The problem with firing Civil Service employees is that the supervisor has to do his /her job to do it. You can’t just say “you’re fired” and hire your friend, or someone off the street. If that were the case you’d get a complete turnover with each change of administration and start over with untrained and inexperienced workers. Nothing would ever get done. It is management’s job to define what is expected of their employees, justify it, communicate it and take appropriate action if it is not done. If you let employees go home early, you can’t complain that they went home early. If the guy who made five calls a day got a satisfactory performance review, then five calls a day is satisfactory. Supervision isn’t just filing reports and writing budgets. It’s hard work and you can’t be everyone’s friend. The Civil Service system provides for disciplinary action up to and including dismissal, but you have to do the work to get there. If you don’t define your employees’ job, they will define it. If you don’t do your job, don’t blame your employees for not doing theirs.

Richard Tobin


Submitted by Virtual Newsroom