Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How to build . . .

. . . a six hundred forty-dollar toilet seat.

Well, not exactly.

You remember that, of course. Along with the $436 claw hammer.

Examples of government waste in the 1980s.

In that vein, the government have (BrE plural used because this was too big a deal to be singular) stopped that, with the National Security Payroll System - or, as we refer to it, the N.S. f***ing P.S.

Another brainchild from Donald Rumsfeld. You also remember him from his magnificent strategy during . . . well, nevermind. If I have to explain, there's no point.

In essence, this was an attempt to institute a pay-for-performance system in the Department of Defense. Over the last several years, 200,000 DoD personnel have been dragged, kicking and screaming enrolled in this system.

All those people were required to take three days of training. Assuming eight hour days and about $30/hour salary (full salary, including benefits), that was about $144,000,000 in lost time. Add the millions for the computer system, consultant fees, etc., and the total cost must have been somewhat north of a quarter-billion dollars.

What was gained? (He asked, rhetorically)

- An annual performance review that takes about 18 pages to print out.
- An additional $100,000,000 or so each year in time spent completing and discussing the aforesaid form.
- "Measurable" objectives defined by government-speak that nobody can understand.
- A distribution of salary increases that were not measurably different from those paid under the old GS system.

Would anyone have expected less from Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz?

Not I. (He stated, a prescriptivist by nature )

Fortunately, they are gone.

Unfortunately, NSPS is not gone until 2012.

Fortunately, it's on its way out.