Money for nothing

The Washington Post notes the government is just figuring out that getting accused of misconduct is often a way to earn paid leave:

Tens of thousands of federal workers are being kept on paid leave for at least a month — and often for longer stretches that can reach a year or more — while they wait to be punished for misbehavior or cleared and allowed to return to work, government records show.

During a three-year period that ended last fall, more than 57,000 employees were sent home for a month or longer. The tab for these workers exceeded $775 million in salary alone.   …About 4,000 more were kept off the job for three months to a year and several hundred for one to three years.

This is ridiculous.  The rights of employees to be presumed innocent unless proven guilty is rightfully sacrosanct.  But if the investigation into wrongdoing is going to take “one to three years,” there needs to be some way by which said employee continues to earn their keep.  This is a supervisory problem.  I’d venture to say that most of these cases shouldn’t take as long as they do to resolve — given the inherent inefficiencies of government this is likely a case of bureaucracy compounding bureaucracy.  As the article points out:

At many private companies, paid leave is rarely used, if at all, and lasts a few days at most, personnel experts said. An employee accused of wrongdoing either stays at the office and is reassigned, or is suspended without pay.  “The private sector is focused on operating efficiently,” said Kathy Albarado, chief executive of Helios HR, a consulting firm based in Northern Virginia.  … “So they’re motivated to ensure they’re resolving any dispute quickly.”

That, in a nutshell, is the difference between the public and private sector.  So why do Americans keep demanding ever-larger inefficient government?  Government that doesn’t even give them what they pay for?


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