Today's letters to the Monday Morning Quarterback come from U.S. workers who wonder why they have to work the day before Christmas yet will get Monday, Jan. 21, off for the inauguration, which one unhappy fed refers to as "the coronation."
In another letter, a former civil servant says government executives need to be reminded who they work for. That person, he says, is the president who was elected by the people to run the government. He says that in 15 years with Uncle Sam he found some top career employes who managed to work it so they are not accountable to anyone.
* "Dear Scrooge (A.K.A. Ronald Reagan): I just heard that as a cost-cutting move federal employes will report to work on Dec. 24. I ask you: Where will you be? Busy at your oval office, or at your cozy ranch in California? How much do these little jaunts to California cost the taxpayers? Cost-cutting indeed!
"Sign me a Grade 6 secretary with very little annual leave [vacation time] on the books. And wishing I'd voted for Walter Mondale." D.P. in Northern Virginia.
* "As a federal employe I read with great interest that the president will not give us the day off before Christmas because of the great cost [$223 million is the daily federal payroll] involved. However, they are more than willing to grant us the day off for the 'coronation' on Jan. 21st.
"If there was such great concern for the economy and the country as a whole why did the president consider TV ratings and change the lawful day in which he is to be sworn in? This is rather hypocritical at best. Besides, just how many rank and file federal employes are invited to the 'coronation' anyway? I can assure you that most of us are not. I say forget the time off for coronation day and give us Christmas Eve instead. The latter is by far more meaningful!" H.M. in Woodbridge.
* "I am a retired federal civil servant who put in 15 years with the old Office of Education, the new Department of Education, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
"My comment is triggered by the letter you printed last Monday from an Arlington reader." That reader, a retired government executive, was unhappy with the Heritage Foundation report that urged political appointees to find, and control, career government executives who might try to block the president's programs. The executive said it is only the "impartial knowledge and wisdom" of "superb career staffs" that keeps political appointees from making a mess of things. Today's letter writer says there is another side to political control:
"It is my observation . . . that career civil service employes, particularly those in Grades 12 and above and including members of the Senior Executive Service, believe that one of their major responsibilities is to protect the people from the people that the people have elected. By attempting to be accountable to everyone the civil servant ends up being accountable to no one. And this situation has caused a large number of citizens to be confused and frustrated because they now believe that civil service employes are accountable to no one.
"One of the best moves civil servants could make would be to launch a major public relations effort to tell the general public that employes of the government do have an accounting responsibility to someone. And it is my belief that this accounting responsibility is to the elected members of the executive branch." D.B. in Alexandria.