Friday, November 7, 2008

One of an Obama adminstration's most pressing jobs is to lift the spirits of a moribund federal bureacracy. Employees have complained about inertia from the Oval Office infecting the morale of workers, The Washington Post reports:
Regulatory agencies -- including the Departments of Interior and Labor, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Consumer Protection and Safety Agency -- have been the hardest hit by morale issues, mainly because of Bush's anti-regulatory posture, workers and union officials said. Hundreds of federally-employed scientists, researchers and agency lawyers have drafted, studied and restudied regulations that went nowhere.

At EPA, a regional staffer who works on wetlands protection said the agency's political appointees have stalled and erected roadblocks on work to clean air, water and soil. Headquarters waited a year to advise staff on how to handle a Supreme Court decision that threw wetlands rules into doubt, then issued vague, "useless" guidance, he said.

"There's been an inability for people to do their jobs and do it well, " said the staffer, who asked to remain anonymous. "The administration's purpose has been to do nothing."
There's a line by Henrik Hertzberg from 2004 (can't find the link) about the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq war that still rings true: the administration is forced to staff operations it doesn't believe in.

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