Labor Secretary William Brock, calling some corporate managers incompetent "turkeys," said yesterday he is reluctant to see government regulate hostile takeover attempts.

"I have an intense frustration with the miserable incompetence of some American managers -- obviously not all," Brock told a House employment subcommittee hearing on hostile takeovers and mergers.

"There are some {managers} that are far more interested in belonging to seven golf courses than they are in visiting on their plant floor once a month -- or once a year in some cases," Brock said.

"And I really think that some of those turkeys ought to be gone. And I don't want to do anything that limits our ability to get rid of them because I don't believe they're serving their employes or their stockholders or any of us very well," he said.

While supporting retraining programs for displaced workers, Brock said he is very reluctant to see the federal government interfere with the free market by restricting takeover attempts, even when they result in lost jobs.

Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), the subcommittee chairman, said he does not believe it makes any sense for workers to lose their jobs due to takeovers or failed takeover attempts while high-ranking executives "float away on golden parachutes" with severence pay and other benefits.

Lantos questioned whether government should get involved when the intent of the takeover bid is greed.

"Greed is an economic justification" for business decisions," Brock said.

"It has to be channeled and controlled," replied Lantos.

"No, no, no -- not by government," said Brock. He said that over time, mergers and acquisitions "have created a net economic benefit" to the country.

Brock said limitations on takeovers that could be damaging to the economy are better controlled by companies themselves and by stockholders.