These are the words spoken by Sen Grassley on April 11th regarding compensation of HUD executives.

Take a look at these recent headlines from my RSS Newsreader:

Federal Employee Pay Transparency

See a trend?

The first story (headlines #1 and #2) is the most egregious of them all. Between 2010 and 2012, The IRS paid $2.8M in bonuses to employees ‘with disciplinary problems’, including $1M in bonuses to employees who owed back taxes.

These aren’t shipyard workers, folks. These are the people who you call for advice on your taxes. These are the people who audit your tax returns. Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse!  Paying Bonuses to IRS workers who owe back taxes is a disgrace – It needs to be fixed, now.

Headline #3 shows that more than 15,000 Feds made more than $200K last year. Dig a bit deeper and this is not too alarming- The vast majority of the high-earners are specialist doctors working for the VA.  I’m totally ok with the VA compensating its doctors fairly- If Uncle Sam does not compensate them fairly, they will leave for the private sector- And injured veterans are at risk of receiving proper care.

Headline #4 is a refreshing change.

The Senate has held up the confirmation of a key HUD executive pending disclosure of HUD executive pay (as promised).   According to Sen. Grassley, “Too many housing authority executives exploit the lack of transparency and oversight to pad their own nests at the expense of those who need safe, affordable housing.” This is all part of the (rightful) belief that ‘Transparency Changes Behavior’. Hear, Hear!  I hope other agencies follow the lead of HUD- Especially the IRS.

I don’t have any problem with Feds being highly compensated for highly specialized or extremely demanding tasks. But what we need is more disclosure of the names and salaries of key employees, just like we see with executives and board members of publicly traded companies in the Private Sector. Because Transparency Changes Behavior.


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