Geithner sends note of support to IRS staffers
Updated 1:14 p.m. ET
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Douglas Shulman expressed support for IRS employees in a message sent Thursday, following the plane crash at agency offices in Austin.
IRS is a bureau of the Treasury Department that dates back to 1862.
"As you follow the news about the tragic events at the Internal Revenue Service office in Austin, Texas, we want you to know that we deeply appreciate the work you, as public servants, do every day," Geithner and Shulman said.
"We are closely monitoring the events in Austin, and our staffs are in close touch with local, state, and federal law enforcement officials. When we have a fuller understanding of what led to this inexplicable act against our colleagues, we will share that with you.
"In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been affected by this terrible event, and with their families. We want you to know that your safety is of the utmost importance to us and we will do whatever is necessary to ensure that you are safe in your workplaces.
"Treasury and the IRS have always intersected with the lives of all Americans, if only because we collect the taxes that build our roads and bridges, improve our health, and protect our security. Your jobs are crucial to meeting the challenge of this moment. We are honored to work with you in this cause. We stand with you at this moment of sadness."
About 190 IRS employees worked in the building. The National Treasury Employees Union represents 85,000 IRS workers.
"This incident brings to light an ongoing concern that the atmosphere in our nation debases and denigrates the work of federal employees and contributes to such actions," NTEU President Colleen. M. Kelley said in a statement. "Too often, frustration with policies or politics takes the form of attacks on public servants, which is never justified and can contribute to misguided rage against federal workers."
"NTEU will work with the administration and members of Congress to ensure that extra security measures are taken to protect federal workers across government, but we also need a more responsible level of discourse in our country about the work of government. Anger or resentment over government policies, whether it be tax policy or airline security measures, should never lead to attacks on innocent workers," Kelley said.
| February 19, 2010; 10:12 AM ET
Categories: Agencies and Departments, Workplace Issues
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