An article in yesterday's Federal Report incorrectly quoted Albert Meisel, a General Services Administration manager, as saying he was being transferred outside Washington to a job created for him. The job already exists. The article may have left the impression that Meisel believes he is being reassigned for political reasons. Meisel said he does not know why he is being reassigned. A story in yesterday's editions incorrectly reported the manner in which the U.S. government would be named in civil suits brought against Air Florida after the line's Jan. 13 crash here. Judge Joyce Hens Green has told attorneys for Air Florida that if they want the government to be a defendant, they must name the government in each suit.
Albert Meisel got the news last week in a letter. It said that Meisel, who has been in charge of public programs and exhibits at the National Archives for eight years, had until May 23 to report to a new job at the General Services Administration office in Kansas City or forfeit his job.
"Nineteen years--that's how long I have worked for the government," Meisel said yesterday. "The first place that I worked was the Peace Corps. I could have taken jobs outside the government during the years, but there's something special about working for the government so I stayed.
"Then I get this formal letter that says, 'Move, Buster, or you're out in the street!' They didn't even have the courtesy to talk with me in person. I've lived in Washington 24 years . . . . What am I going to do now?"
Meisel is one of 17 Senior Executive Service officials at the GSA who are being transferred from Washington by GSA chief Gerald P. Carmen to "streamline management and strengthen GSA's regional operations."
Carmen called the realignment necessary because the agency's top talent had become too heavily concentrated here, but some of the managers being reassigned claim Carmen is trying to force them to quit because he wants to replace them with Republicans or end their programs.
Twenty-four managers will be shuffled, all but seven to jobs outside Washington. While this is not the first time career employes have accused the Reagan administration of reassigning to encourage them to quit, it is the largest case to date and the first to involve SES employes.
The transfers have, in Meisel's words, "turned people's lives topsy-turvy....My whole life is in Washington. My wife works here, my youngest son is about to enter his senior year in high school."
Nearly all of the GSA executives being transferred were hired during Democratic administrations, said G. Jerry Shaw, president of the Senior Executive Association, which represents top government employes. Thus, there's talk at GSA of a "Republican hit list," a charge Carmen has denied. Meisel is a Democrat and self-described liberal, but his political beliefs have never interfered with his job, he said.
None of the SES employes nor their direct supervisors apparently was consulted about the moves, according to Shaw, and some of the transfers will cause obvious hardship. Dennis Blaeuer, a manager in GSA's Federal Supply Service, has been ordered to Philadelphia, while his wife, Pat Kendall, an executive director for GSA staff offices, has been transferred to New York.
Earlier this month, Carmen downgraded 33 SES positions, including 17 of the positions held by employes being reassigned, Shaw said. Carmen said he took the action because GSA had a higher ratio of SES-level employes than other agencies.
Shaw would not predict how many of the employes will quit rather than move, but he claimed the government will suffer if any leave. "Most of these people have 20 and 30 years' experience," he said. "Career senior executives provide the continuity from administration to administration."
Bond Faulwell, GSA personnel director, said that the moves are not intended to force employes to resign and that each employe was not personally interviewed because Carmen already knew their qualifications.
"Different types of jobs and assignments to different parts of the country go with being an executive," said Faulwell. "The needs of the agency have to take precedent over desires and wishes of employes."
"If I really believed that my moving would help GSA, then I would understand," Meisel said, "but the truth is they are creating a job for me. You tell me: how come they need me specifically for a job that still is on the drawing board?"
While many of the jobs still are being developed, all will play an important role in restructuring the agency, said Faulwell.
"I don't know what I will do," said Meisel. "I keep hoping someone will tell me that this isn't really happening."