The unintended effects of this EO has a workforce losing faith and trust in a process they believed would protect them from the sometimes ugly side of civil service. Out of their exasperation and frustration, employees have turned to proactive measures, such as EEO and other complaints against agency managers like you.
Political agenda culpability
As if surviving the longest government shutdown in recent memory wasn’t enough, federal managers with exemplary records became targets of investigations resulting from a political probe. When politics come into play, there is an overwhelming need to hold someone accountable. Politicians, the media, special interest groups and investigators start looking for anything that might make a case or a headline.
Even though what’s uncovered during these investigations may not have anything to do with the initial incident, the need to assign blame or accountability opens the floodgates for all types of scrutiny at all levels. And federal managers end up serving as scapegoats, even though the “issue” involving the manager was extremely limited or not at all related to the initial allegation or investigation. The stakes become even higher when there is financial loss, injury or loss of life. Media attention creates the spotlight, but it’s the agency that needs to assess accountability, and it’s the managers who suffer most severely.
Employee misdeeds are now your misdeeds
With the Federal Circuit’s Recent Decision in the VA firing, federal managers have an “affirmative duty” to know about the misdeeds of their employees. Ignorance of those activities is NOT an adequate defense. While this precedent-setting ruling is the latest in a banner “can’t win for losing” year for federal managers, it is also the most damaging and frightening. Undoubtedly, there will be managerial scapegoating as political pressure, media and special interests, and public assurance/accountability demands mount. The question is – how will this damage the lives and families of career executives, managers, and supervisors just trying to make a difference in their civil service role?