Wednesday, June 15, 2005

A Consummation Devoutly to Be Wish'd

A big congratulations to The One-Eyed Fat Man who is shuffling off this bureaucratic coil today, released from the Golden Handcuffs at the ripe old age of 55.

OEFM has been a mentor of mine for as long as I can remember, and is the inspiration for several of the Bureaucratic Rules that you see on the sidebar, most notably #2. The guy can also mix a mean vodka martini. He's one of the few people out there to whom I can explain my increasing confusing organizational structure without batting an eyelash. He's also one of the few who can cite the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 by chapter and verse, and further explain to you why your project violates the Act. More importantly, however, he instilled within me one basic principles, which I've tried, in my own small way, to impart to all of you that read this blog:

Public Service is a noble profession.

everything else pretty much follows from that.

In the last few decades, we've lost sight of that basic principle, choosing instead to see governmental employees as faceless apparatchiks of THE STATE or mindless boobs hoping to survive one more day until retirement. While we do have our share of these caricatures, it is more important that we in the government once again look at ourselves as Protectors of the Public Interest and Defenders of the Public Trust, instead of adversaries.

OEFM is leaving the government in part because he was tired of the work, but not of the job, which is a difficult distinction for a lot of people to make, but mostly because he was frustrated by the steady decline in Government. In his X number of years in service to King and Country, he's seen quality go down hill, good people leaving, bad people staying, and lunatics taking charge of the asylum. He blames Carter for this, and hated him more than any other president... until the current one. He doesn't expect things to get any better any time soon. The job quality has steadily declined; the work has remained the same.

And he's not the only one. The Golden Handcuffs are coming off many of his compatriots, leaving a vacuum of knowledge for which the Government has yet to find a replacement.

He may be back, although not under a GS Schedule. The novelty of retirement will probably last about six months as he watches every committee vote on C-Span, and he may consider going back as a contractor. Lord knows that the Government will need him and his institutional memories.


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