The Pentagon has added new procedures to ensure that senior officials seeking employment in industry abide by the rules governing post-government work.
The move follows the Oct. 1 admission by Darleen A. Druyun, a former Air Force procurement official, that she showed preferential treatment to Boeing Co. for years before taking a job with the company. Druyun has been sentenced to nine months in prison, and Michael M. Sears, Boeing's former chief financial officer, pleaded guilty earlier this week to illegally recruiting Druyun to the company while she was still overseeing Boeing programs at the Air Force.
Under the new rules outlined in a memo from Paul D. Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, when employees file their financial disclosure forms they must now certify that they are aware of post-government employment restrictions and have not violated the rules. The new procedures also will add lessons on post-government employment rules to ethics training sessions and will provide guidance on the employment restrictions to employees leaving government positions, the memo said.
The new rules should "ensure that DOD personnel are aware of and comply with statutes and regulations that apply to their transition from Federal service to private employment," according to the Oct. 25 memo signed by Wolfowitz. The memo has not been publicly released or relayed to all senior defense officials, said Cheryl Irwin, a Pentagon spokeswoman.
After Boeing fired Druyun and Sears last year for holding illegal employment talks, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld also ordered the general counsel's office to review the post-government employment rules. No report related to that review has been released, and it was unclear yesterday whether the Wolfowitz memo was in reaction to that review.
The additional provisions are a good start, but they do not go far enough or address the weakness in the system, said Scott Amey, an investigator with the Project on Government Oversight, a watchdog group. For example, Druyun was able to accept a job at Boeing after her retirement from the Air Force because she signed on with the Chicago-based company's national missile defense unit instead of its air systems business with which she had dealt closely while in the military. The new provisions do not address that loophole, Amey said.
Also, senior government officials who take jobs in private industry are prohibited from lobbying their former agencies for a year, but they can help a company develop strategies to pursue contracts with that agency, Amey said.
Government and industry officials have fought against additional post-employment restrictions, worrying that an overhaul could diminish the attractiveness of government work. Defense contractors pay top dollar for government recruits who can help them decipher the Pentagon's goals and focus their contract proposals, industry officials have said. Retiring government workers often have spent years in public service with the expectation that one day they would be able to turn their expertise into lucrative salaries, they said. Limiting those possibilities could discourage employees from taking government jobs, they said.