The enormous salaries the federal government is paying to employees -- for not working.
One of the reasons Donald Trump’s message resonates is he is striking at the core of a corrosive Washington, DC culture. Government waste and misconduct are rampant.
A story about the Chemical Safety Board (CSB), a U.S. federal agency, is a clear reminder of what we are up against when career bureaucrats are left to their own devices. Daniel Horowitz, the board's managing director, was placed on leave in June 2015 by Acting Board Chairman Richard (Rick) Engler. Horowitz and the organization's then-general counsel were accused of creating a toxic work environment and retaliating against whistle-blowers. The official notice for his removal included 10 charges of misconduct.
Anyone in business found to have committed such misconduct would rightfully find themselves out of work. Fast forward more than a year and Horowitz is still on the payroll earning $158,700 because “the action was never finalized by the board.”
In June, Michael Wright, the health and safety director at the United Steelworkers union, told Bloomberg News, “[I]t's not the CSB's fault.” Wright added it was appropriate to keep Horowitz off the job given the accusations against him, noting, “I'd rather have him collect a salary and not do work than collect a salary and do work for the CSB.”
It makes no sense at all – those who do no work must not be paid. There is no logical reason to pay someone taxpayers’ dollars for staying at home.
Engler, the Acting Board Chairman of the CSB, is the same bureaucrat who promoted a lawyer suing his agency for hundreds of thousands of dollars as its acting General Counsel.
Prior to his promotion, Raymond Porfiri was the agency’s Deputy General Counsel, having worked at the CSB for 16 years. In October 2014, Porfiri filed a federal lawsuit against CSB charging it with various incidents of discrimination and failure to accommodate injuries he sustained in an April 2011 accident pruning a tree at his residence. In his suit Porfiri is demanding a $300,000 payment from the government – and in his new role is directly supervising the CSB attorney charged with assisting the Justice Department in defending against his own lawsuit. This is government ineptitude at its finest.
And it’s the same Engler that, soon after his appointment, awarded “nearly $100,000 in sole-source contracts for outside lawyers and consultants without public notice or discussion and kept them below a dollar threshold that would trigger an array of federal procurement requirements,” according to Corproate Crime Reporter.
This whole episode at the CSB is symptomatic of everything we have come to associate with government and bureaucracy – at best inefficiency, at worst, corruption. Big government is simply never good. No matter who is elected in November, more in government need to be told, “You are fired.”