The Goose and the Gander–Part II

August/08/2009 17:49PM
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Here are things I want to require all members of the house and senate to do. It’s an extension of an earlier blog entry, titled the goose and the gander. This would be my employment contract for you if I designed such a contract. It reflects the true value your jobs add to our nation. If we the people hired a professional human resources person to appraise and rate your jobs based on what you do, you would be a mid-level manager with little, if any, accountability. It would be very hard to set objectives for your annual appraisal.

This employment contract is generous based on how your jobs would rate vs. a CEO or an executive VP in a big corporation.

1.Fly commercial air just like you expect business executives to do. The auto industry was chastised by you for flying private aircraft to Washington to beg for money. Since all you do is beg for money, you don’t get an exception. Spending $600 million for new private jets to fly you folks to your boondoggles is an insult to all voters. And, don’t fly first class. Fly in the back and talk to the folks.

2. I expect you to take periodic drug tests, just like the majority of American workers must do. I expect your percentage of drug use exceeds the statistical average of mainstream America and we really don’t want you voting on multi billion dollar bills while high.

3. I expect you to take the heat. In my career as a business executive, I had to stand before groups of employees and explain why we were making decisions they didn’t like. Or, dealers or jobbers who stood to make less money. Or, customers who were getting price increases they didn’t like. But, never, never did I try to stand in front of any of these groups and not have the facts and be prepared to handle most questions. Nor, did I ever try to B.S. them. Since most of the town hall meetings I’ve seen in the last week deteriorated into chaos, you must not be experienced in delivering news people don’t like. Most of you couldn’t handle the questions or tried to BS the people. Some of you walked out. Who would walk out on a group of customers. You and only you. You don’t see us as customers and that’s the problem. Never has it been so obvious that you serve the President or lobbyists, not voters.

4. You should buy your own health care. We should not buy you Cadillac insurance. If you want it, you pay for it. If you want to try no health care, gamble. Use after tax dollars to buy whatever type of health care you need. Don’t use my tax dollars to buy the best.

5. Close the perks in Washington. The barber shop, the gym, and all the other crap. If you need a haircut, go to the nearest barber shop and talk to the folks. Join a gym with your money. No cars with drivers, drive your own Smart car to show your environmental supporters how green you are. No shoe shines. Nothing. Cut it to the bone. You are failing just like AIG and you neither deserve, nor should get, any bonus treatment. You aren’t all that special. Most of you are just attorneys who couldn’t make it in the real world. You are mid level employees of the people. Giving up the frills will help you remember who you are and who you work for and who pays you.

6. You get 4 weeks vacation. That’s it. The rest of the time, you are in Washington. If you own a home back home and want to keep it, fine, but you won’t be there much. Move your family to Washington. That’s how it would work in the private sector. Hit your office 48 weeks a year. If you want to come home and talk to the folks, rent a room. A nice conference room. That’s how the private sector does meetings. Campaign during your 4 week vacation.

7. You all get a yearly expense account. The same for all, representatives and senators, no difference. Do all the traveling you want within budget. That’s how the private sector does it. Remember, it will be audited, so don’t cheat, you could be fired. When times are tough like they are now, expense budgets will be cut. So, make it work.

8. Effective 2010 your budget for staff will be cut by 50%. That’s what the private sector has been doing for the past two years. It will be zero based budgeting tied to the GDP. If the GDP goes up, your staff budget will go up on an index basis. If it goes down, yours will go down further.

9. Mandatory retirement is age 65. Go play golf with your lobbyists friends. There is a reason why the private sector has a mandatory retirement age. We get old and set in our ways. It’s time to move on and let the younger people take over.

10. You will show your daily schedule on your web page. If you meet with a lobbyist, it will be on that schedule. Since you will be working a real work year under this plan, you might find it a challenge to fill up 48 weeks with meaningful work.

11. You have two years to make the post office and Amtrak profitable. If you fail, you resign. It’s on your watch. Plus, it might dampen your interest in taking over every business in this country. See, that’s how it works in the private sector. Get it done or get out.

All of you know so much about how to run businesses like the auto industry, health care, the post office, Amtrak, and banks, we think you need to have an employment contract that replicates the type of contract a mid-level executive has in the private sector. The accountability will be good for you and even better for us. You might even find satisfaction in achieving something. Most of us who have worked with accountability have.

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