Letters From Readers
The Federal Diary gets a lot of interesting mail, some of it fit to print in our occasional “speak out” columns. Here are some edited letters.
A recent column argued against the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy regarding gay service members.
I applaud the Midshipmen who “told on” Mr. Todd Belok for kissing his male friend at a fraternity party. Your article stated that “Military culture encourages members to expose colleagues who break the rules.” Shouldn’t our society be ingrained with a set of rules and standards regardless of how politically correct they are? Our military culture expects that. Why can’t everyone else accept that? I’m sure Mr. Belok was aware of the rules and the consequences of breaking them. He chose to break a rule and was held accountable. Get over it!
Steve Chapman, Ijamsville, Md.
I am one of the 12,500 military personnel discharged under this archaic law.
The Air Force felt the need to search my private emails in Iraq; apparently ferreting out alleged homosexuals is far more important than fighting insurgents.
I know firsthand the ugly face of discrimination by our federal government. I’ve paid a heavy price emotionally and financially for being who I am, including losing all retirement benefits. I greatly look forward to the day when it is no longer “open season” on gays in the military and I can resume my service to our nation as an officer and a gentleman.
Mike Almy, former Army major, Washington
Military life is a 24/7 job that requires you to sleep and shower for months at a time with those not of your own choosing. It boils down to having people living with others who would be upset to learn they are living with others that find them sexually attractive in general. How do you think the 95 percent who are heterosexual would feel living with open homosexuals on very intimate terms? Some call that privacy, which is a precious commodity in the military, particularly for a person on a Navy ship. For those who disagree with me then I see no reason not to make all berthing and showers, including on Navy ships, coed and put everyone together regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
Commander Wayne L. Johnson, Navy (retired), Alexandria, VA
It’s only a matter of time until this bigoted policy is gone.
Knight Champion, former captain, U. S. Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Department
We wrote about opposition to moving additional civilian employees into the Department of Defense’s National Security Personnel System. Almost all who commented on NSPS oppose it, but not everyone.
I am under the NSPS. It is unfair in many ways. The 2008 pay for performance was rated on a Bell Curve at Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center, Monterey, Calif. I have lost $6,000, in pay under this new system.
Katherine Mitchell, Monterey, Calif.
I have worked for DOD as a civilian for over 30 years moving up from a blue collar position to mid level management and have been under two complete cycles of the NSPS performance system already. While the system is not perfect, it does do something that I have never seen done in the government before, it does make performance the primary part of determining pay raises and it does set absolute standards across the department for rating personnel. Under every previous system the ratings were arbitrary and based solely on the opinion of the rating official, with no standards across the board to level the playing field.
Washington Headquarters Services, Department of Defense
The brain drain from federal agencies was the topic of a column last week.
Two suggestions to help bring back experienced help: 1. Simplify application process for returning Feds. The federal hiring process has always been one of the most cumbersome in all Christendom. 2. Establish a clearing house of interested retirees with immediate hire authority delegated to the agencies with a need.
Robert Fagin, Jacksonville, Fla.
It was more than two years ago that I sent correspondence to the director of the Government Accountability Office and to the person in charge of the particular department for which I wanted to work. I have yet to receive a response to either letter. I was not applying for a clerical position but rather I was seeking a position monitoring IT projects. This is a position I am uniquely qualified for. In addition to the issue of pay reduction mentioned in your article, the inability of the agencies to respond in a timely fashion to applicants is another critical issue in the hiring of employees, especially those who bring history and experience with them.
Eva Freund, Vienna, Va.
My column about a civil servant on forced leave, who is paid $150,000 not to work, drew this question.
Can I have that job (& salary)? I promise, if hired, I won’t do anything either.
David Ecale, Minneapolis, Minn.
Contact Joe Davidson at firstname.lastname@example.org
March 2, 2009; 4:45 PM ET
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