“I came to a commission that had no chairman for three years, so there was a vacuum of leadership,” said Lidinsky, who joined the commission in July 2009 and became chairman that September. However, data indicating that FMC was the most improved small agency in 2009 were collected during that vacuum.
Lidinsky oversaw two reorganizations to focus the agency on Obama administration goals.
“Any kind of reorganization brings with it discomfort,” he said. “I would say that’s certainly part of the situation.”
In addition, there are issues that affect employees in all agencies, such as the freeze on basic pay rates and lack of funds for hiring and promotion.
“All these things I think factor together and translate into the scores,” Lidinsky said.
Those scores are at the bottom across the board for FMC — except, ironically, when it comes to employee satisfaction with pay. Out of 27 agencies, the commission ranked 18th in pay satisfaction. In all other categories, including leadership, management, teamwork, training and diversity, the agency ranked 26th or 27th.
But this doesn’t mean everyone is dissatisfied.
Magdalene Grant, 58, a legal assistant who has been at the agency for 37 years, wouldn’t work anywhere else.
“Despite not getting promoted, I still would rather work here and not get promoted than work somewhere else and not enjoy it,” she said.
A single mother, she said she loves working at the FMC because of its family-friendly policies. In fact, she said, the work environment itself feels like family.
She’s not happy with everything at the agency, but she likes her work so much that “many times” she has not taken vacation time, instead donating it to a leave bank. Grant knew about Issa’s letter, but “it didn’t affect me,” she said.
“I don’t really take off. That’s how much I enjoy it,” she added. “I come here sick. . . . I feel better coming here to work than staying home in bed.”
Just think how good she’d feel if the Best Places to Work list indicated that more of her colleagues felt the same way.
Previous columns by Joe Davidson are available at wapo.st/JoeDavidson.