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Next on '24': Bureaucratic Reform Goes Nuclear

Tuesday, February 8, 2005; Page C01

Feb. 8, 2:01:07 . . . 2:01:08 . . . 2:01:09

From: Erin Driscoll, Special Agent in Charge, Los Angeles Domestic Unit, Counter-Terrorism Unit

To: All L.A. personnel

Re: New civil-service rules

I know you're all very busy at the moment, but I wanted to let you know about some important changes here at CTU. As you may know, our parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security, will be the first in the federal government to implement a sweeping new personnel system. As announced in Washington by the Bush administration on Jan. 26, the new rules will overhaul the way 110,000 civil-service employees are paid, promoted, deployed and disciplined.

How will these new rules affect CTU? Let me offer a preview:

• Pay and pay raises. Under new guidelines, and because of the unpredictability of our jobs, the biweekly pay period has been scrapped. CTU employees will now be paid in increments of seconds. Wages will be direct-deposited to employee bank accounts every quarter-hour. Merit-pay opportunities will be reevaluated at the top of each hour, depending on your job performance in the preceding hour.

• Hiring practices. As always, CTU is looking for individuals dedicated to our core mission: thwarting extremely complicated terrorist conspiracies masterminded by foreign nationals with heavy accents. Our hiring policies will not change. As always, our primary consideration for employment at CTU is a prior record of conflict/romantic involvement with senior CTU officers. We will continue to hire individuals to perform a variety of ill-defined jobs, with overlapping responsibilities designed to maximize interpersonal friction.

We understand that many candidates have complicated personal lives that will frequently interfere with their work. This is acceptable if the candidate a) is willing to work a 24-hour shift without notice or complaint; b) harbors damaging information about other CTU employees that can be used as leverage in personnel disputes; and c) does not mind occasionally being taken hostage.

• Discipline hearings/appeals: Disciplinary actions will continue mostly as they have in the past -- swift, secretive, and involving some kind of employee-on-employee torture -- in the auxiliary conference room next to the snack machines. Employee-directed executions of senior supervisory officers, as occurred last year, will continue to be permitted under certain circumstances. Please check with me for details.

• Vehicle use: On the whole, we've done a lot better this year in terms of the upkeep and reliability of CTU's fleet of sedans, SUVs, motorcycles and aircraft. But it seems that every year we get a one- or two-day period in which many of our vehicles are wrecked, blown up or otherwise compromised. On days when our workload seems particularly intense (today, for example), I would ask employees to be especially vigilant about driver safety, not leaving cars unlocked, and avoiding, if possible, the transportation of injured or deceased (or otherwise bleeding) co-workers. Also, please avoid using your CTU vehicle as a shield during shootouts. Body work and windshield-repair costs have soared, with a negative long-term effect on our department-wide car insurance rates.

• Internal security. As you all know, the work we do here at CTU is vital to national security and hence top-secret. However, various individuals, such as friends of CTU employees, children, former love interests and former CTU operatives who now work elsewhere (e.g., that glory hog Jack Bauer), will be permitted to wander unescorted throughout our facilities.

Finally, some good news: The command structure at CTU will not be affected by the new regulations. As in the past, CTU employees in this office will be able to completely bypass and disregard our supervisors at Division with impunity. And all of us will continue to have the private cell number of the president of the United States, so we can get him on the phone whenever it suits us.

I hope these guidelines are clear. If you have questions or complaints, please direct them to your representatives at the International Brotherhood of Counter-Terrorism Workers. Your shop steward is Chloe O'Brian.



P.S.: I'd like to remind everyone that next Friday is Hawaiian Shirt Day. It will be compulsory to wear a Hawaiian shirt and jeans -- crisis permitting, of course.

-- Paul Farhi and Hank Stuever

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