Quickie: Large Broom Needed at the State Dept

Patricia H. Kushlis of WhirledView writes about the need for a large broom to clean up the State Department (A System in Need of a Large Broom: Buyer Beware | December 2, 2009); and that’s putting it mildly:

“A Human Resources Bureau that has been allowed to run amok with little or no outside oversight over the past decade remains a major obstacle. This is most visible at the senior levels where financial and assignments stakes are highest, but the problems have also trickled down the ranks in deleterious and mysterious ways.”

A few items from her post that should perk up your interest, especially if you’re up on the 7th floor or reading this over in Capitol Hill.
Some of her examples:

The bonus pay fiasco: “The performance pay system has for years regularly awarded financial bonuses to Senior Foreign Service officers who are based in Washington (often in HR) to the detriment of other high ranking officers who have served in hardship and danger posts abroad.”

The assignments fiasco: “[P]lum assignments are also regularly handed out to insiders. In a particularly egregious case, a senior FSO sat for eight years in HR — where he pushed people to serve in Iraq — before waltzing off to an ambassadorship in Africa.”

Promotion board corruption: “There are shocking allegations that have come to me about Foreign Service promotion boards being corrupted – and not just at the senior levels.[…] HR keeps no records of key decisions – like promotions.”

Here’s the can of worms at its worst: “[A]t least in one instance, HR announced the results of a reconvened board before the board even met.”

Hiring cronies for career (not political) positions: “On the Civil Service side, senior managers in Human Resources are alleged to have approved position descriptions that permit their cronies to be hired for jobs without them having to go through the normal competitive process.[…] there are charges of nepotism.”

Read her entire post here.

See Patricia’s other posts on this issue: