Budget-battered though it is, the Internal Revenue Service can still find resources to bring a little joy into the lives of its overworked and underpaid employees.
Beginning next month, the 100 of so employees in the office of Associate Chief Counsel (International) Steven R. Lainoff will begin receiving an internal newsletter that will keep them up to date on topics ranging from UFO sightings to executive travel.
However, the employees will have to do most of the work themselves.
"After many discussions in Quality Council meetings on how to let people know what's really going on in International, we agree that it is time for an International newsletter," Lainoff wrote in a memo to his staff Monday.
"Well, we are giving you the chance to fill us in on the latest scoops . . . . So get your pencils out and start feeding" information in for publication, Lainoff wrote. Noting that "this wondrous newsletter which will come out monthly" will be "more interesting" than one put out by the Technical division, Lainoff suggested a list of topics, including:
Recipes, quotations and UFO sightings sent in by employees.
A trivia quiz.
Notes on holidays, employee birthdays, phone number changes, major case assignments and training programs.
An IRS spokesman said the newsletter will be produced on a personal computer and photocopied by an agency "quality improvement facilitator," so the cost will be "negligible."
He said it is meant to "keep communication channels open," adding, "It's a common feature within an organization to help employee morale." He said that if employees don't supply any information in a given month, the newsletter simply would not appear.
Lainoff noted in his memo that "we still need a name for this newsletter." Apparently, however, suggestions from taxpayers are not being considered.