Re: The Worker / Employer Relationship
Thu, 14 Nov 1996 15:08:59 -0500

In a message dated 96-11-13 19:53:39 EST, James Rogers wrote:

<< Some people on the list, such as Davin Enigl and James Rogers,
>seem to have had extensive experience with federal agencies. Maybe
>we should get some input from them. >>

I've had a mixed bag. In general, I fear government agencies. The one I
deal with get promotions by finding people who are out of compliance with
food, cosmetic, drug or nutritional supplement regulations.

The USDA: I have yet to find anyone I dislike in this agency. The people
seem to competent, helpful and some are recognized world authorities. When I
call them with a problem, they are not looking for an ambush of any of my
clients. They do not ask my name or any other ambush information. I have
yet for them to inspect any of my clients even if we disclose sensitive
information. In general, this agency will work with me to solve problems. I
have published a paper jointly with them. They have some "nice" people and
many have said that they consider themselves as "Your tax dollars at work",
i.e. service oriented.

At this point I should say, if the regulatory agencies I deal with think you
are trying to comply with the law, and not fight them, they leave you pretty
much alone.

If they get a complaint from a customer about a regulated product, that's a
different story. If they think the public will hammer on them for not taking
harsh action. They will take harsh action and get political brownie points
in the process for doing a good job.

The FDA: Basically the FDA is the same. If they think you are truly trying,
they will leave you a lone. But, they do look for trouble, even with out
complaints. No matter where a manufacturer starts, they still will find
something to improve upon. This is how they get funding and promotions.
They really like to pounce on a company that argues with them. They will
take any authority they can possibly find in the laws and they interpret the
laws always in their favor to enhance their power. They will do this even if
they know full well the interpretation will be overturned later in a law

The FDA is highly politically correct and will enforce the laws that increase
their power, funding, etc. most. The animal testing laws for cosmetics are
not currently being enforced because of this.

The Post Office: Just when I was able to sight horror stories galore, I got
a knock on my door. It was the local post master. I'm afraid this experience
is the exception not the rule. He came to apologize to me personally. It's
a long story, but I did not have snail mail delivery for 35 days and they had
lost some of my mail. This man was intelligent, helpful and we worked out
all the problems. He send a mail carried to my door several times to
personally get my mail through. The mail carrier was also nice.

The post master said the problem was the centralized mail system and
explained how his works "stupid it was" to get orders form far off
supervisors. He told me that he was going to ignore the memorandums that
caused my mail to stop. To me this just proves the de-centralization of
centralization works. The local government employees are nicer and get
things done better than the nameless, faceless state and federal levels.

You might think I like the post office? No, they just destroyed a package
of mine and don't want to pay the insurance on it. The local post office
employee I talked to was really (expletive deleted ) to me. And, they wonder
why people use UPS.

As James said >>a small power trip for the federal worker involved.>>

I agree with James that many federal employees are "not capable or competent
enough to get a job in the private sector". There are a few who are, Dr.
Doug King (USDA) but it's the bad ones that most people see.

<James> Anyone who is any good quits and works for the private sector. >>

Yes, this happens most of the time. My clients offer jobs to the good ones.
Their is a young microbiologist working for the FDA right now, I would like
to hire.

< James> The federal government is the employer of last resort.>>

I asked an FDA manager if I could get a job with the FDA. He said "Yes, but
knowing you, you wouldn't want it. You would be frustrated all the time with
the stupidity and go right back into the private sector."

<James> People are promoted based on seniority, not
qualification. The cream does not rise to the top in the federal
And people wonder why so many government agencies are mismanaged.>>

They are also promoted on how much positive publicity they can generate for
the agency, like nailing someone to the cross.

<James> That said, there are a few agencies in the government who have their
together, but they are far and few between. I think many government
employees need to be reminded that they work for *us*. >>

The USDA was "taken down" a notch in my book after they knowingly let
_Salmonella_ into Chicago area milk from Jewel Food's processing plant Hill
Farms. The top managers were informed of the problem by the local USDA
inspectors who recommended plant shut down. (The _local_ inspectors had the
right answer). The managers said "But, we can't shut them down because they
would go out of business. We would be looked at as the bad guys for laying
off so many people. The the public and congress would have a field day."

Well, they still have a field day because over 100,000 people got
_Salmonella_ food poisoning and 12 people died. Even "good" Government
agencies don't work right in some very major incidents.

All the better to privatize and de-centralize.

Dynamically Optimistic,

November 14, 1996
11:45 am