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USPS Sponsorship raises questions

Old 07-11-03, 01:29 PM
  #26  
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Originally posted by FOG
Most lost effiiency in government is responding to those who think they have magical elixirs to improve efficiency. In general, government offices, especially at the Federal level are extraordinarily effecient.
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Old 07-11-03, 01:36 PM
  #27  
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Originally posted by FOG
Most lost effiiency in government is responding to those who think they have magical elixirs to improve efficiency. In general, government offices, especially at the Federal level are extraordinarily effecient.
Let me guess, living in Annapolis, MD, you wouldnt happen to work for a government agency would you, That would explain your, ah, rosy outlook on Govt. waste.

Do some reasearch on the Bureau of Indian Affairs trust fund debacle if you want to see a well run agency. They are very efficient at screwing up, hehe.

take care,

Jester
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Old 07-11-03, 08:22 PM
  #28  
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Originally posted by jester69
Let me guess, living in Annapolis, MD, you wouldnt happen to work for a government agency would you, That would explain your, ah, rosy outlook on Govt. waste.

Do some reasearch on the Bureau of Indian Affairs trust fund debacle if you want to see a well run agency. They are very efficient at screwing up, hehe.

take care,

Jester
I do work for the gov't, and I agree that BIA has problems, but I also know that the everyday workers at the overwhelming majority of agencies do a great job of executing the orders passed on to them. When the orders are conflicting or incompetent, which can occur because the public knows to be true facts which later prove to be false, then the orders lead to inefficiency. In the case of the USPS, their orders are unambiguous- they must move the mail rapidly and efficiently, and they do, despite a raft of requirements which do not hobble private enterprises. I do not know how the BIA debacle got started, but I am willing to bet good money that if the truth ever gets out that a political appointee will turn out to have been the culprit, and that ambiguous or conflicting requirements will also be part of the mix.

I work with an advisory committee, which has many individuals from the affacted industry, and they are considerably more impressed with our skill and diligence now that they have attempted to assist us in finding good and appropriate policies.

Some government agencies get into trouble with the public when they are too efficient, such as the IRS, or when they move in one direction or another to fit policy. The DOL has a rulemaking going on redfining who will be subject to overtime pay. As a result of their effective work, they will probably have made enemies of the labor unions. The real issue is not whether the DOL employees did a good job but whether the affected people are happy with the outcome of a politicial decision, which was not made, but which was implemented by skilled and efficient government workers.

Someone may say that "we were just following orders" is not a good excuse. I, and most of my coworkers that I have discussed the matter with, belive that it is not up to government workers to second-guess the electorate, their elected leaders or thepolitical appointees of the elected leaders, as long as the orders are not immoral, ilegal or unconstitutional. If an elected or appointed official says the world is flat and we are going to make policy accordingly, the remedy lies only with the voters. We will do our absolute best to implement a flat earth policy, even if we hold personal beliefs, or even knowledge, which conflict with that. We work work diligently, and as efficiently as we can given that a policy is based on false assumptions. We will, of course, do our best to give accurate information to the elected and appointed officials, but relatively few of them go to the trouble of getting elected or appointed so that they can seek our advice.

Since you are a voter, and therefore in many ways the ultimate decisionmaker, you can do a few things to make government more efficient. You can recognize that there are tradeoffs, and accept that if you want better transportation you may have to put up with more construction, more jobs, then you may have to accept more pollution or drilling in the ANWR, less crime you may have to pay more for prisons and staffs, better education higher taxes and so on. Public employees are great at using the resources allocated within the framework prescribed. Help us make a better framework by acknowledging tradeoffs and we can do an even better job.

If you pretend that we are all living a life of ease and adding no value, then you are likely to provide insufficent resources to attract good enough workers. A good enough worker would have to be very good where a large program is involved, yet often the wages are not enough to draw appropriate talent. If the quality of a worker's efforts can affect outcomes of a program by 1/2% (a very modest percentage), and the program is a one billion dollar program, then the difference affected by that worker's quality is $5 million. Nickle and diming that employee by a few thousand is not wise.

At the moment it is politically expedient for both major parties to blame government shortcomings on the employees, which is almost as stupid as blaming fires on firefighters. Look beyond the headline-grabbing stories and analyze the more common cases of emplyeees doing their jobs well and drawing no attention.
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Old 07-11-03, 09:10 PM
  #29  
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Originally posted by FOG
At the moment it is politically expedient for both major parties to blame government shortcomings on the employees, which is almost as stupid as blaming fires on firefighters. Look beyond the headline-grabbing stories and analyze the more common cases of emplyeees doing their jobs well and drawing no attention.
Perhaps I was misunderstood here, perhaps not.

I have friends and relatives that do great jobs for the government, The employees aren't the problem, its often the system and, like you say politics or appointees. Politics ruin more things in this country than I could ever possibly list

Some things you said in there I might take issue with specifically, but in general I think we are on similar wavelengths. However, as a taxpayer it is hard to see waste and not blame "the government" or an agency as a whole, even though ill concieved policies concieved by others may have put those in charge of that agency in a bind rather than any fault or inaction of their own. All I would ask of someone in that situation is, if asked, to be honest about what caused the problem.

take care,

Jester
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Old 07-12-03, 02:45 AM
  #30  
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French lender Cofidis dropped Lance Armstrong's contract after his treatment for cancer. Then in 1998, the USPS took a chance on Lance and as we all know the rest is history. Can you imagine Lance riding for a foreign team like Cofidis? Thank goodness for the USPS!
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Old 07-12-03, 10:50 AM
  #31  
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Originally posted by FOG
Look beyond the headline-grabbing stories
Like this one from today?

More government "efficiency"
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Old 07-12-03, 10:57 AM
  #32  
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Originally posted by Revenig
Can you imagine Lance riding for a foreign team like Cofidis?
Sure I can, why not? Lemond rode on a foreign team and he was no less of Hero and Champion. Hamilton rides for a foreign team and he is one of my favorites. As well as Fred Rodriguez and Leipheimer. Hell my Favorite rider isnt even a American.
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Old 07-12-03, 10:37 PM
  #33  
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Originally posted by bac
Like this one from today?

More government "efficiency"
What they don't tell you is that employees were told to put all their travel expenses on cards, and given little clarification. I managed to run slightly afoul of the regulation by buying toothpaste at a Walmart when I was on travel. I thought it was mandatory to use the cards for such expenses, and that I would have been subject to discipline had I not used the card. As far as some of the other stuff- slow payment of the credit card is part of the huge number of alleged abusers. The cards are issued by major banks, like citibank, and are mastercards with high limits. We are PROHIBITED from using any other card to charge airfares and lodging, and are told we must use the card to pay for meals any time we are on travel, unless the restaurant does not accept the card.

When we get back from travel we often find the travel vouchers are not processed promptly, making us unwilling creditors of the government. Many of us then pay the credit cards slowly, because we have not yet been reimbursed. The big dollar figures include slow payments, as well as misuse. The actual cost of a sixty-day late payment is in the neighborhood of 0.8%, given a 4.5% APR. So, if there are $10 million in late payments, the actual cost is somewhere around $80,000- not worth the salary of a single investigator for a year.

All of this is to ensure we do not get any rebates like you might get from a discover card, or airline points for using an airline credit card. I would be just as happy to pay all my travel expenses off one of my other mastercards, but that wouldn't meet the minimum requirements. In the meantime, the government and the credit card companies have tightened up the acceptance rules, so our cards will not be accepted at most retailers.

There were real cases of abuse, and in my agency we fired some employees who misused their cards. These were individuals who had little or no experience with credit cards on their own, and IMO were punished beyond the magnitude of the offense.

In the meantime, no one has measured the cost of the investigations into the abuse and alleged abuse. I would bet that the abuse cost less then 10% of what the total cost of the investigations was. This is a typical example of running in circles making a big stink over fraud, when the actual cost of finding the frwud far exceeded any alleged fraud. The public will never hear the real story though, because it is a lot sexier story to tell the public that its employeees are robbing them blind, even if it is a wild exageration.
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Old 07-13-03, 12:42 AM
  #34  
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Originally posted by KevinG
Sure I can, why not? Lemond rode on a foreign team and he was no less of Hero and Champion. Hamilton rides for a foreign team and he is one of my favorites. As well as Fred Rodriguez and Leipheimer. Hell my Favorite rider isnt even a American.
The question was in reference to the whole USPS sponsorship issue. The point is that the USPS took a chance on Lance and he has delivered ten-fold. He has done much to improve on the negative image of the USPS. I believe this point was best expressed in an article titled "Is Lance Just Too Good?" on the dailypeloton.com website:
The USPS started sponsoring cycling in 1996, figuring it was an easy, uncrowded sport to break into. Cycling stands for teamwork and endurance, its marketing people reasoned, and they say those qualities have indeed rubbed off on the much-maligned Postal Service. "Lance has completely changed the meaning of 'going postal," says spokeswoman Joyce Carrier.

Yes, Lance would have been a star on any team (American or foreign), but I'm glad that Cofidis passed on him and that he gave the USPS something to be proud of. An American helping an American based business. The so-called marriage between Lance and the USPS is a perfect match and I would like to see it continue despite of what these watch-dog groups think. So, I apologize for not expressing my point more clearly.
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Old 07-13-03, 10:41 PM
  #35  
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The U.S.P.S is a independent, government bound company, trying to be competitive in the market, and people bash them for it. There is an old saying "you have to spend money to make money", very true in the U.S.P.S' case.

Last edited by UTKlein; 07-13-03 at 10:52 PM.
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