Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

Service of Should One Manufacturing Car Rule Fit All?

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019


When it comes to rules governing clean air and other environmental issues, health care too, California has been ahead of the curve as long as I can remember. I’ve worked with associations and companies that would cringe when the state proposed a new regulation governing the industries in which they were involved because they feared it would cost them money and catch on universally.

The state currently has a federal waiver that allows it to set its own auto emission standards.

The Trump administration is proposing to ease fuel economy standards to save manufacturers money and encourage them to sell gas-hungry trucks and sport utility vehicles the public prefers. According to Ben Foldy and Mike Colias in The Wall Street Journal “the rollback being pushed by the administration is so extensive that car companies are worried it will set off a protracted legal battle with California—the nation’s most populous state and the biggest auto market—and ultimately conclude with manufacturers having to meet two different sets of requirements for selling cars in the U.S.”


Federal rules agreed upon in 2012 called “for increases in fuel economy annually through mid-decade to an average of about 50 miles a gallon.” The administration wants to freeze them at 37 miles a gallon.

Meanwhile Ford, Volkswagen, Honda and BMW signed a separate agreement with California for standards more rigorous than this administration’s and not as severe as the last one’s. Mr. Trump reacted: “Car companies should know that when this administration’s alternative is no longer available, California will squeeze them to a point of business ruin.”


Foldy and Colias wrote: “In a statement responding to the tweets, Ford said: ‘We have consistently supported one 50-state solution for regulating fuel economy standards, and this agreement with California provides regulatory stability while reducing CO2 more than complying with two different standards.’”

Its obvious why a 50-state solution is ideal. Tweaking cars for different markets is onerous and far more costly than, say, manufacturing pillowcases in different sizes for European and U.S. beds.

Other manufacturers that didn’t join the four wanted to wait for the final federal ruling anticipated for later this year. Foreign manufacturers didn’t participate in the pact, according to Foldy and Colias, was because they were afraid the president would impose tariffs on their cars as he’d threatened.

The administration also wants to “revoke California’s federal waiver to set its own emissions standards.”

Outlier GM is “pushing for rules to require car companies to sell battery-powered cars across all 50 states,” and feels that the Golden State doesn’t give “enough credit for sales of fully electric vehicles.”

Should car manufacturers be encouraged to produce more fuel efficient vehicles or is it better to loosen up the rules to keep them increasingly profitable so that they can share profits with investors and employees and in theory pay more taxes contributing to the greater good? Is the administration right to rescind California’s exemption from federal emission standards so that manufacturers can make one car that fits all rules?


Service of Crowds: What do Guns Have to Do With It?

Thursday, October 5th, 2017


I avoid crowds. I don’t like being one among hordes whether in a stadium or an indoor or outdoor venue. I learned, in writing this post, that I attributed to my dislike something else about mobs relating to gun violence that turns out isn’t true. Please read on.

When I saw the fans on “60 Minutes” last Sunday cheering feverishly for American star soccer player Christian Pulsic—the 19 year old is on the professional German Dortmund team [photo above]—I shuddered while I think I was supposed to admire. Thousands dressed largely in team yellow and black colors stood and cheered, then jumped up and down while squeezed shoulder to shoulder. [Pulsic was remarkable, but I digress.]

I loved the Christmas Show at Radio City Music Hall last year but even that gave me pause. The capacity is 6,000+. Ticketholders are scrutinized by security airport style–wand and all–but still.

I see countless images and mentions on Facebook of folks either at or returning from a glorious rock concert or exhilarating game. [I love concerts–in moderately sized halls.] In supersized stadiums or open spaces I fear stampedes and not being able to get out of a packed place.

Now, after the latest massacre by guns–in Las Vegas–I thought I had another reason to question whether it’s safe to produce/attend events at venti-sized stadiums or heavily subscribed gatherings in smaller spaces until we have a better way of vetting venues for nasty perpetrators.


Turns out that where being fish in a barrel for gun-toting killers is concerned I’m wrong to worry about humongous  venues–statistically anyway. The Washington Post reported “People killed in mass shootings make up less than half of 1 percent of the people shot to death in the United States. More than half of gun deaths every year are suicides. In 2015, more than 12,000 people have been killed by guns, according to the Gun Violence Archive.” [I highlighted part of the quote.]

Put another way, that means that two years ago, almost 6,000 people died from gunshot wounds that weren’t due to suicide and mostly didn’t happen in stadiums and outdoor music festivals. “Twenty-seven percent of the mass shootings occurred in workplaces, and 1 in 8 took place at schools. Others took place in religious, military, retail and restaurant or other locations.”


So I was wrong about massive crowds being targets, but guns are not off the hook. The government protects us from unsafe prescription drugs, cigarettes, and from harm by having passengers remove their shoes at airports—so why not from citizens with guns?

A article subhead is “In the developed world, these levels of gun violence are a uniquely American problem.” Shouldn’t Congress mount a program to correct misinformation and misplaced anxiety and simultaneously put in place ways to verify the sanity and objectives of people who buy guns in future? Shouldn’t there be a gauge to determine the appropriate type of guns a citizen should own for non military/police-related purposes? Common sense tells us that there must be a suitable number of guns for sportsmen and women to own. Why not do for guns what we do for cars–register them so that homeland security in every community is aware of citizens with an excessive number? Everyone appears shocked to learn that the latest murderer had so many rifles. We should never be surprised. Nothing’s perfect–car fatalities are caused by people whose licenses have been revoked–but does that mean we shouldn’t address the problem?


Service of Hope: Art and Flowers

Monday, August 17th, 2015


Creatures left these perennials alone this year.

Creatures left these perennials alone this year.

I was full of righteous indignation when I first read Sonja Sharp’s Wall Street Journal article, “‘Summer Streets’ Art Swiped Again.” As the title hints at, for the second year, people stole art that was made into signs. The project was commissioned by the Department of Transportation [DOT]. 

Not a blossom in sight.

Not a blossom in sight.

A similar thing happens to me though the perpetrators are animal, not human. I returned to our house on Friday night to discover barren sticks where zinnias and dahlias once thrived. Where were the flowers that I’d patiently deadheaded, fed with Milorganite that has a smell repellant to deer [and me], and watered? Answer: In some wild creature’s stomach. Something like this happens every year. More later.

Sharp wrote about what she described as “A series of cheeky street signs bolted high above Manhattan intersections” commissioned by the DOT to enhance areas of the city throughout August. Starting with 30, some installed seven feet high, she reported that there were only a handful a week after they were installed. “’It’s the nature of signs in public,’ artist Stephen Powers said upon learning that his vinyl-on-aluminum ’emotional wayfinding’ series had apparently been dismantled by sticky-fingered fans. ‘They print a lot of ‘Stop’ signs and they print a lot of ‘One Way’ signs because they tend to walk.’”

Summer Streets 2015Reading about the stolen signs my kneejerk reaction was, “With so much that needs attention, what the dickens is the DOT doing spending resources and staff time on a project involving cool signs that just scream to be taken and always are?” And “Why hang some so high that few would notice them in the first place?”

Adding insult to injury, the first sentence in DOT’s “About” section reads: “DOT’s mission is to provide for the safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible movement of people and goods in the City of New York and to maintain and enhance the transportation infrastructure crucial to the economic vitality and quality of life of our primary customers, City residents.”

Sharp quoted a DOT press release: “These signs will surprise and delight passersby offering them clever food for thought.” So what does this have to do with the mission?

Later she added about the artistic street signs: “’The miracle of it is they’ll live forever on Instagram,’ Mr. Powers said of his work, adding, ‘That’s kind of where art lives now.’”

So what about my flowers? I have a perennial garden that survived relatively unscathed this year [photo at top] so I’m lucky. Once a pond dweller rodent broke every stem and had the nerve not to eat the blossoms of black eyed Susan’s, Echinacea, St. John’s Wort and other flowers I look forward to seeing and picking. Other summers, deer decapitated every colorful top leaving a lozenge-shaped garden of tall green leaves and beaver felled a precious cherry tree we’d planted and nurtured for years.  Like the DOT, I have a list of repairs to which I should direct money and time yet I spend it on flowers.

My husband is blessedly understanding and calm about the annual financial and floral devastation. About the latter, he says, “It’s nature.”  Isn’t the DOT working with similar trust and anticipation?

Do you also think these instances are analogous? Do you repeatedly toss money at hopeless causes?


A day after I took this photo the orange zinnias, like the dahlias in the middle, were also gone.

A day after I took this photo the orange zinnias, like the dahlias in the middle, were also gone.

Service of Small Business

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

standing on soapbox

America pays lip service to its reverence for small business and always has but like the parent who stays in bed or stares at the TV while he/she orders the children to attend religious services, it doesn’t do much to show its sincerity–at least in New York.

Take commercial renters tax. Who believes that big business pays this if a large corporation threatens to leave NYC? Reality check: Who cares if a small business packs up or closes down–pay the tax or else.

Then there are shakedowns. A friend who has owned a small store for years was recently told he had to post a sign in his window to alert the sanitation department that his garbage is picked up by a private company. He explained that he has nothing to do with garbage pickup, that he gives his garbage to his landlord who disposes of it. That doesn’t matter, said the unwelcome visitor. Insult to injury: In addition to such a hideous accent to his display window he is supposed to buy this sign and deal with the city to get it. Have you noticed such a sign? I haven’t.

Italian wineThe topic of landing hard on small business again came to mind when I read “Eataly wine store to close in liquor-license dispute” in Crain’s New York Business.

Lisa Fickenscher explained: “Celebrity chef Mario Batali will close the wine store at his Italian market, Eataly, for six months and pay a $500,000 fine to the New York State Liquor Authority as part of a settlement reached Tuesday with the state. Mr. Batali and his business partners, the mother and son team Lidia and Joe Bastianich, were accused of running afoul of state liquor laws prohibiting licensees from owning wine stores and wine importing or manufacturing businesses.” Mr. Bastianich “manufactures” wine at his Italian vineyard and the store imports wine. According to Fickenscher, it sells “1,000 vintages of Italian wine.”

In the agreement Lidia’s name will be removed from the license. Instead of losing their liquor license altogether, they agreed to pay the fine and close the store for half a year.

The Batali-Bastianich partnership while substantial– they also own a dozen restaurants in NYC and elsewhere–is small in comparison to Fortune 500 corporations. The business is hands-on and my guess the principals don’t have deep enough pockets to do what the giants do–pay lobbyists to change the law or create wrinkles in their favor.

yellow cabsAnd what about the proposed 30 cent surcharge on an already surcharge-bloated NYC yellow and green taxi fare: Add it to state, night and peak surcharges and you enter a cab owing $4.30. Mayor DeBlasio’s rationale for this increase is to help owners retrofit cars to accommodate wheelchairs. I am of average height and weight and can hardly fit in some of the cabs so please–short of adding a U-Haul, there’s no way these vehicles can be made wheelchair-friendly. So they must collect the tax and gain no advantage from it?

Further, how will this affect tips? Is it enough to make a difference except to fleet owners? Will owners of a single cab suffer from a drop in business? Let’s face it: Hedge fund and tech-billionaires don’t need cabs, they use overpriced car services and own limos. People with hefty expense accounts aren’t affected and many also hire car services.  Who else will feel the squeeze? People on fixed or low incomes who need cabs to get to doctor or hospital appointments. Who cares about them? They don’t pay big taxes, do they?

Am I looking at these examples through the eyes of a small business owner and therefore not clearly and objectively? Do you have other examples to add? Is it a New York phenomena or across the board?

small and big business

Service of Thinking Ahead

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Think Ahead

Maybe there should be a class in school on this subject as I keep writing about it.

Open Door Policy

I was exiting the back door of one of New York City’s newer busses and I followed instructions to touch the yellow handle. Nothing happened. The door was supposed to open.

City bus handleGuess the busses were made for use in Florida or Arizona and maybe the city got them on sale. In order for the device to work, you must touch the door with your bare hand. In winter this means remove your glove–even if it is 19° and both hands are carrying packages.

Note: Technology exists. City taxis have little TV screens that react to a gloved finger that hits “Off.”

Watch Where You Walk

Icy sidewalksSnow and slush are generally easier to clean up when fresh because they turn to ice in cold weather. Departments of sanitation in northern climes know this. Yet in Manhattan after last week’s storm, days later there still are plenty of places in midtown with mounds of the hardened stuff at crosswalks and bus stops. So the city hired hundreds of hourly workers to chip it away.

Wouldn’t it have been a better use of resources and easier on backs and equipment to have hired people to push the stuff into gutters and away from critical walkways just as the storm ended, well before the precipitation had a chance to set? Temperature forecasts aren’t just for people figuring out whether or not to wear a warm jacket.

Watch Where You Plow

snow truckA colleague lives in a house in Westchester. After the big snow he and his wife took turns cleaning it off their car. Hours later a plow deposited snow as high as the top of the car at the entrance to their driveway. This family wasn’t alone: I heard a news report about this. I wonder if the sanitation department drivers hope to make freelance money clearing all those driveways, or are they thinking of something else as they work listening to music in their ears or are they not trained.

Update: My colleague told me the same thing happened this morning—not as bad as last week as there wasn’t as much snow, but still….

More Salt Please

salt truckSo New York State ran out of salt to put on the roads. When a restaurant is running low on milk, bread or butter, doesn’t it buy more? I can hear people say, “Towns don’t have money for salt.” Do they have money for law suits?

So many problems are avoided if people think ahead. Do you have other instances to share?

Think ahead 2

Service of Tourist Symbols: Eiffel Tower, Tower of London, Lincoln Memorial, Grand Canyon & Statue of Liberty

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

 Statue of Liberty

You know you’re in Paris, London, Washington DC, Colorado or New York when you see the Eiffel Tower, Tower of London, Lincoln Memorial, Grand Canyon or the Statue of Liberty.

“I’m really here!” I say to myself or to anyone who’ll listen and feel a thrill as I approach such sights. But many landmarks and parks haven’t been open to tourists here. Imagine traveling from 50 to thousands of miles only to learn that you can’t get in.

Grand Canyon National ParkAs of Sunday, the Governors of NY, Colorado and other states have opened their landmarks as much for financial as symbolic reasons. Businesses around the sights are suffering losses. [I heard one newscaster say that the Feds will reimburse the states for costs involved when the Federal purse reopens, but haven’t heard this repeated.] Cost to New York to open the Statue of Liberty: $61,000+ a day.

Visitors to the Washington memorials still aren’t able to visit. The West Point band didn’t play in the Columbus Day Parade this year. Note: The debt crisis didn’t affect the Congressional health club which remains open.

Are our symbols as essential as some of the services we’re missing because elected officials  on both side of the aisle have lost sight of their missions? Clearly not.

Yet I am appalled that so many of our proud symbols have been dismissed, disrespected and ill-treated by our leaders, men and women who seemingly won’t budge from their fierce positions for fear of diluting their own political images.

What do these closures say about this country to foreigners? The outcome of political inaction/gridlock is more than embarrassing and discouraging and symbolic of a system that’s gone off track. Is the damage repairable?

Closed door

Service of Consuls and Consulates

Thursday, October 18th, 2012


My husband, Homer Byington, who, like his father, grandfather and great, great grandfather, once served as a consular officer, has experience to share which sheds light on an issue that’s being used as a political football–inappropriately as you will read. He’s been bursting to share his thoughts with you.

He writes:

carahomermemay2010-005Whether this campaign issue in the current presidential election is good for the country or not, that is what the recent assassination of Ambassador Christopher Stephens in Benghazi, Libya, has become.

As a consequence, we are subjected from all sides to a bombardment of misinformation about consulates and consuls. As a former vice consul, who twice experienced being inside a locked up, battened down consulate under siege by a mob, this annoyed me sufficiently that I decided to ask Jeanne whether I might do a piece for her blog.

Of course, it took just a touch of superficial digging to discover that we do not now, and as far as I can tell, never did have a consulate in Benghazi, a place I’ve actually been a few times. Our facility there, which the Libyan militants attacked, couldn’t have been an embassy either as ours is where it ought to be in Tripoli, on the other side of the country.

The facility was something very different. Indeed, we only just recently assigned a “real” consul to the country, and he’s stationed at the embassy.

I realize that this makes knowing what purpose consulates usually serve sort of irrelevant, at least to the presidential campaigns, but I’ll go ahead anyway.

ancient-rome1Consuls, a title derived from ancient Rome, have been around for centuries. They work in consulates. Unlike diplomats who work in embassies, they are not entitled to diplomatic immunity, and what they do is not diplomacy. They are officials of a foreign government, “licensed” by a host government to reside in its country to look out for, foster, and protect the interests of their country and their fellow citizens who travel, live, or do business there. The one thing they are not supposed to be is spies.

passportAs part of their job, consuls perform a host of commercial and legal functions, such as issuing visas, replacing lost passports, providing their nationals born abroad with the equivalent of birth certificates, taking depositions, and notarizing documents. They also stand ready to help their fellow citizens when they find themselves in legal or other trouble, can recommend reliable local lawyers, doctors and other professionals if they are needed, and follow up by monitoring the appropriateness of the treatment they receive at the hands of local authorities.

On the commercial side, our consulates promote American business interests and provide American businessmen doing or seeking to do business with or in their host country with nuts and bolts advice, as well as background on local business and economic conditions. Conversely, they do the same when foreigners seek to import from the US.

usseamen1Lastly, American consuls traditionally have always also been charged with looking out for and protecting U. S. seaman who are in trouble.

While consulates, unlike embassies, [as I mentioned above], do not have diplomatic immunity, host governments may provide them with special protection and privileges such as the right to import or buy their personal and office needs duty and tax free. (Any New Yorker will have noticed the police cars parked outside of consulates around the city, and if you have ever sold anything to a consul, you probably didn’t charge him or her sales tax.) For this reason, traditionally, our consulates, unlike our embassies, did not have detachments of marine guards assigned to them.

In past centuries, the best of our consuls dedicated many years to learning languages and understanding the local customs of the countries where they were serving. They lived and made friends in the community. (These days, for reasons of security as well as economy, our consular personnel abroad are often housed together in self-contained and self-sufficient compounds.) Over time they established reputations locally not just for integrity and efficiency, but also for fair-mindedness and straight dealing. spyThe favorable impressions they made frequently created much good will. As well, many of them often become encyclopedically knowledgeable about local affairs, and undoubtedly became useful as sources of local intelligence.

Times and the world have changed, but we have lost an ambassador, killed in the line of duty, doing what we do not know, but the implication is that it was something different than what ambassadors conventionally do.

Might it not be appropriate to rethink what we are accomplishing by meddling clandestinely (or openly as in the case of Iraq and Afghanistan) in the affairs of sovereign, if hostile, foreign nations? Might we not be better served by reverting to the traditional means of carrying out our foreign policy?


Service of Cures That Don’t

Monday, June 4th, 2012


Fire retardant fabrics have been around for ages, though you wonder why as they seem to do harm, prevent little and serve no good purpose. If you’ve attended a home furnishings trade show in a windowless space, soon your eyes will sting and your throat will feel scratchy–a clue that something’s up. Could it be all that upholstery and carpeting?

In “Are You Safe on that Sofa?” in The New York Times, Nicholas D. Kristof writes that if there is a fire, toxic smoke is all you can expect from the so-called fire prophylactic.

play-with-fireHe praises The Chicago Tribune for superb journalism for its investigative series, “Playing with Fire.” Kristof credits the series for revealing that these retardants were inspired by the tobacco industry: “A generation ago, tobacco companies were facing growing pressure to produce fire-safe cigarettes, because so many house fires started with smoldering cigarettes. So tobacco companies mounted a surreptitious campaign for flame retardant furniture, rather than safe cigarettes, as the best way to reduce house fires.”

cigarette1Kristof continues: “The documents show that cigarette lobbyists secretly organized the National Association of State Fire Marshals and then guided its agenda so that it pushed for flame retardants in furniture. The fire marshals seem to have been well intentioned, but utterly manipulated.”

The plot thickens as he reports that the advocacy group, Citizens for Fire Safety “pushed for laws requiring fire retardants in furniture.” This group has three members, notes Kristof: The three major manufacturers of flame retardant chemicals. He notes that the group paid a doctor to lie about children who died in fires because there was no fire retardant on sofa cushions in their house. The kids didn’t exist.

He quotes a toxicologist who points to growing evidence that retardants “don’t provide safety and may increase harm” and who asks why they aren’t used in planes if they are so effective. Children who play on the floor breathe in dangerous dust from the chemicals and they can alter brain development in a fetus.

counting-moneyKristof wraps up his op-ed piece saying that the purpose of these flame retardants is to make three companies rich. “The lesson is that we need not only safer couches but also a political system less distorted by toxic money.”

If there are laws that require furniture to use fire retardants this means that a manufacturer can’t sell a line of clean, organic fabric-covered sofas and chairs. Apart from paying someone to reupholster your sofa with untreated textiles and keeping children off the floor near upholstered furniture, what to do?


Service of Buying on Principle

Monday, April 23rd, 2012


The other week, NYC introduced its “Taxi of Tomorrow” and public advocate Bill de Blasio [Photo right, below] howled. I heard him talk about the city’s choice of foreign partner on the radio and on his website he noted that the billion dollar contract for “the exclusive right to manufacture New York’s taxis” is going to a business that operates in Iran. It’s one of a dozen car companies on de Blasio’s “Iran Watch List” that “targets businesses that operate in Iran and undermine economic sanctions.”

bill-de-blasioThe website quotes de Blasio: “You cannot do business with the people of New York City with one hand, and prop up the dangerous regime in Tehran with the other. For our billion dollars, taxpayers and taxi riders deserve a guarantee that ____ will stop selling its vehicles to Iran.” I put the space in the quote although de Blasio identifies the company on his blog.

When I’ve met investment advisors, they’ve asked me if there are any companies or industries I wouldn’t want to support. It’s a good question for many reasons. Some might forget and inadvertantly invest in–and be accused of insider trading–stock in a company the firm they work for advises. Cigarette or arms manufacturers might be on the “no” list for others.

made-in-usaThere’s a side issue to de Blasio’s point that’s worth a mention even if off-topic. I identified the car manufacturer to a friend who observed: “Why didn’t the city pick an American brand?” As I began to write I also remembered a buy American initiative where participating manufacturers hung the red, white and blue “Made in America” tag with logo on clothing, appliances and other products. Would this be unfitting today?

In wartime, many won’t buy anything made by their enemy. Some have longer memories than others and children often keep up their parents’ boycotts. Is such a consideration anti-business and therefore inappropriate in a tight economy? Or do we have no enemies?

Are there things you won’t invest in, buy, attend or support on principle, or is such thinking so yesterday?


Service of Staffing

Monday, August 15th, 2011


MTA Sercurity

I was inspired to write today’s topic because of something that happened last week. As I arrived at the bus stop at 42nd Street and First Avenue at 6:30 pm, I saw four Metropolitan Transit Authority security staffers giving tickets to passengers who couldn’t prove they’d paid for their ride. On First and Second Avenues, to get on a Limited [express] bus, passengers must slip a MetroCard into a kiosk on the street before boarding and keep the ticket that comes out as proof. [I wrote about the system when it was new in Manhattan in “Service of Who Are We Fooling.”]

limited-busI heard the security people say that they’d given three summonses. Then they all walked across First to enter a large van [illegally double-parked]. A summons costs $100 according to an article in The New York Post about an outraged passenger who got a ticket because she didn’t understand the system. [I couldn’t find what the fee was by Googling key words and MTA.]

A ride costs $2.25. The MTA lost $6.75 but generated $300 because three people allegedly hadn’t paid for their rides. As excessive as the fine is, I can’t see how it will cover the cost of four salaries and a large van and I don’t know why 1) the security team needs a van; can’t they take busses to the stops? 2) It takes four people to do this at any time, but especially after rush hour.

A bus driver, seeing the security uniforms at an upcoming stop should open only the number of doors as security staff on the ground. [And there should be signs in huge red letters at each stop warning people about the fine. I don’t like the surreptitious nature of the punishment and underhanded method of generating income, although that’s not the subject of this post.]


waitressYears ago when we lived in another borough we’d go to an intimate Hungarian restaurant that had only one waitress. The prices were reasonable and the food hearty and tasty so the place was generally full. She served us all cheerfully and the wait for anything from more butter, bread or another beer was always short. She had the rhythm of her job and required focus and energy.


nursesI read nursing and hospital journals when I had a client in that industry. Staffing studies found that a hospital with too many nurses couldn’t rise to emergencies as the workers were used to a sluggish pace nor could those that were severely understaffed and already running at full speed. The staffing sweet spot was in between. No surprise.


federal-governmentI sat next to a very smart, articulate man on the train last week who had the kind of job where he could commute four hours+ daily so as to live in deep dish country. He was able to do it because he never had to work late or get in earlier than usual. I learned at the end of the ride that he worked for the Federal government. He also told me that while at work he did his job but that many colleagues didn’t. He suggested something that I’ve always suspected: Instead of Federal program cutbacks, we could eliminate a lot of expense by cleaning house.

There are people with graduate degrees in HR and I am sure that they conduct countless studies and read staffing formulas galore. In so many instances, staffing seems like common sense. Do you agree? Can you identify instances of over and understaffing?


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