Hard times have arrived at the Environmental Protection Agency. It’s not just the budget and staff cuts which have the long time staffers down in the dumps. It seems that they feel the new boss, Scott Pruitt, as well as his boss, aren’t exactly onboard with the old agenda which they’ve grown used to over eight years under Barack Obama. According to this report from the LA Times, this has some of them feeling so glum and hopeless that they are thinking of leaving their plush, virtually fire-proof jobs and heading out in search of greener pastures. The pressure is such that Jared Blumenfeld, a regional EPA administrator, says his phone is “ringing off the hook.”Maybe they can get a new job on a fracking rig somewhere in North Dakota, Pennsylvania or Texas. I'm sure they'll get used to the dirt and physical exertion eventually.
“The number one call I get everyday is, ‘Jared, can you help us find work somewhere else,’” said Blumenfeld, who ran the regional office of the EPA encompassing California, Nevada and Arizona until last May.The interesting phrase in Blumenfeld’s testimony is the idea that they would like to “find work somewhere else.” I’m wondering if that means that they’re looking for jobs in a different department of the government or out in the private sector. If it’s the former then they may be barking up the wrong tree. There are cuts taking place all across the executive branch and open spots are going to be hard to find. And aren’t your jobs somewhat specialized being in a department like the EPA? It doesn’t seem like those skills would immediately transfer over to transportation or health service, housing or any of the other cabinet level departments. If they’re talking about a private sector job, prepare yourselves for a shock. It’s a very competitive, results oriented environment out there in the real world and you can actually be fired if you are bad at your job, screwing off, watching porn at work or selling drugs out of your desk. It may be a shock to the system for some of you so I just want to make sure you’re prepared.
His advice? Don’t quit, fight. “I try to tell people that staying and doing your job at this point in history is an act of resistance, that if they leave, we will wind up with gaps in the system.”
That message is not always well received from employees now working for an administration that has openly accused the agency of producing junk science, pursuing a political agenda and abusing its authority.
EPA staffer bravely quits job in defiance of Trump… sort of
Remember those surveys which showed that up to one third of federal workers were thinking of quitting their jobs as soon as Donald Trump was sworn in as the nation’s 45th president? More than a few of them were obviously workers at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), where the media mournfully reported that workers were “coming to work in tears” over what was to become of their beloved agency. But for all of the angst and bluster showing up in the press we weren’t actually seeing many (if any) people making good on their promise. That is… until now. We’ve finally found that long sought after worker who took a stand, flipped the bird to Scott Pruitt and Donald Trump, fired off a take this job and shove it letter and walked off the job. And his name is Mike Cox. (Washington Post)Now hire a former fracker to take his position.
When Mike Cox quit, he did so with gusto.Oh, my! How principled. How bold. And I love the way the Washington Post chooses to describe Cox’s actions. The headline informs us that he “leaves with a bang.” The opening paragraph lets us know that he “quit” and that “he did so with gusto.” But did he really?
After 25 years, he retired last week from the Environmental Protection Agency with a tough message for the boss, Administrator Scott Pruitt.
“I, along with many EPA staff, are becoming increasing alarmed about the direction of EPA under your leadership … ” Cox said in a letter to Pruitt. “The policies this Administration is advancing are contrary to what the majority of the American people, who pay our salaries, want EPA to accomplish, which are to ensure the air their children breath is safe; the land they live, play, and hunt on to be free of toxic chemicals; and the water they drink, the lakes they swim in, and the rivers they fish in to be clean.”
Not really. In fact, he didn’t quit at all. He retired with 25 years of service… something he could have done at least five years earlier if he didn’t want to hang around and run out the clock to maximize his benefits. And speaking of which, Mike is in for a pretty sweet deal. If you calculate his Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) payout he’s looking at anywhere from a quarter to a half of his highest three year compensation average plus a host of other goodies. (Thanks, unions!) It’s a pretty sweet deal if you can get it.
Linked at The Daley Gator in "Dedication Sunday." Thanks, Doug!