9:46 pm, April 20, 2014

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  • SBA senior leadership -- who are they working for?
    SBA underground
    The series of reports reflect the poor leadership (both career and political) at SBA which perpetuates a culture of reprisal, substandard performance and defiance of the rule of law. Instead of serving the American public and small business, SBA managers are spending their time resolving the problems they themselves created (i.e. see this as discrimination, grievances and reprisal actions). How much time was spent on the clumsy move of the contracting function to Denver? It was and is an ill conceived idea which, although implemented as a “pilot” does not fix the long term problems present in the Agency’s contracting office – after intervention by the union, the original plan (which called for reassigning several contracting personnel – most of whom were of minority status – from D.C. to Denver) was modified but is still presently a disaster in the making. Why does agency leadership try to fix a long term problem in the contracting office by putting a manager who has NO contracting experience in charge of the office to fix it? A change of location does not a good fix make. As a long term employee of the Agency, I have seen and heard things that should cause great concern on the part of agency leadership, managers, Congress and the taxpayers. Nobody seems to care enough to do anything about it. Lower level employees are subject to disciplinary actions but it is rare for the agency (or the IG, EEOC, OSC or the current administration at the time) to tackle the questionable and outright illegal conduct of its senior level officials. It has not been uncommon at the SBA for senior managers (SES) and GS-15s to come in late to work or take long lunches several times a week out of the building (see many OGC managers here); or to spend inordinate amount of time hanging out on the north side of the building on smoke breaks (see Mr. Hairston on this one). Yet, if one were to look at SES bonuses, these same individuals are amply rewarded. It is rumored that several SES managers received upwards of $20,000 last year in bonuses. (Question whether Recovery Act funds were impermissibly used to provide these fair haired SES’s with outsized bonuses). There have been those managers (including high level SES managers) who were known to (frequently) go drinking at lunchtime (see the Carlyle in Shirlington), and others who have intimate liaisons with members of the opposite sex on company time (including one manager who was stupid enough to use his government credit card to pay for the hotel room). Many at SBA will remember the woman who showed up in front of the SBA building one summer day at lunch with a large placard indicating in large bold letters that [name of SBA employee] gave her herpes. Apparently, the SBA employee in question had had liaisons with a number of ladies employed by SBA and it caused quite a stir. Not the kind of attention a serious agency wants to attract. It is also not uncommon for senior managers to try and hire relatives. See reference to the hiring of Mr. Avery’s wife. It is rumored that Mr. Hairston has been named as a person with responsibility on one or many EEO claims. It is also rumored that a young person from West Virginia (where Mr. Hairston is from) with the same last name was hired in the EEO office at SBA. Some questioned whether this was appropriate. It seems the individual is no longer working at SBA in the EEO office. One SES manager was rumored to have forged the signature of another and nothing was done about it. There are many questionable HR practices with regard to SES hiring. One SES mentioned in the article, Monique Fortenberry, an attorney in the General Counsel’s office was allowed by OGC management to work in an SES position as a GS-15 (for over 3 years) to gain enough experience to qualify for the position and (what a surprise) when the SES job was posted, she was appointed by Karen Gordon Mills, the current administrator to the position. This apparently is a prohibited personnel practice. The ironic thing is that Ms. Fortenberry is now in Los Angeles as the acting district director because it is rumored she needs more training. Also ironically, Ms. Fortenberry is the SES in charge of legal advice on all things personnel related including reorganizations (see contract discussion above) EEO, employee hiring and other personnel issues. There are others in OGC (Nina Levine) and SBA who have been given similar advantages in order to qualify for the positions they were eventually hired into. These same senior level managers have been known to allow career employees working for them to do nothing. There is an employee in OGC who has been observed doing relatively nothing for the past 20 years (outside playing computer games and reading the newspaper). He is a GS15 step 10. As a rough estimate, if on average he made $100,000 a year, taxpayers would have paid almost $2M for his salary and benefits and received practically nothing in return. His OGC manager has been rumored to say that she just can’t make this employee do work!! He is not alone at SBA; there are many employees who rot as dead wood and their managers do nothing about it – all at great waste of taxpayer money. And speaking of government waste, according to USASpending.gov, the Agency has spent $550,000 (over two years) on a contract with a law firm (Greene and Letts) from Chicago. The law firm was hired by OGC to represent the AGency on one EEO case in D.C. because of apparent conflict of interest issues in OGC. With all the attorneys in D.C., why would the agency hire a law firm in Chicago to handle a case out of headquarters? And, wouldn’t it have been more cost effective just to settle the matter?? On another front, it should be noted that the Agency has made great strides in improving its website (it recently revealed its new look and content); however, in doing so, the Agency violated certain laws such as the No Fear Act which requires the Agency to post certain EEO information on its website in an easily accessible place. Not only has the Agency not updated (in the old version of its website) the No Fear Act Data (it is supposed to be updated quarterly but the latest data was from Fy09), in the new version, it appears to be absent altogether – leading one to wonder whether the Agency is simply inept, ignorant or is actually trying to hide the number of EEO complaints files by its employees. It is also rumored that the current Administrator, who previously worked for McKinsey and Associates (as referenced in the article) hired a number of individuals at SBA from McKinsey and that some of these employees were being paid by SBA and McKinsey at the same time – if true, that would be a major ethical and perhaps criminal issue. While there are many, many senior managers who fall within the descriptions set out above, there are some who do not. Too often these managers are subject to the same reprisal experienced by the four employees highlighted in this series of articles or are afraid to act because of the possibility of reprisal.
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  • Be not Deceived
    thetruthbetold
    Where is the FBI and the handcuffs??? Where is the President??? President Obama poured sooo much money into SBA and entrusted Administrator Mills to oversee this agency but the Administrator and the politicals seen this as a golden opportunity to take advantage of this black president. He trusted them but they seen this as an open door to pad their pockets at his expense. It is never good to just dump millions and billions of dollars in an agency without taking the time to truly assess what is going on and making sure that you have REAL oversight. EXCELLENT ADVICE (given free): Make it a point to listen to the so called worker bees and make sure you always have some worker bee's as a part of any decision making team. The manager's actually joked and laughed when they were told by HR that the President mandated that an oversight office be in place prior to using the stimulus money. IT NEVER HAPENED! What is scary is that the President, Congress, the FBI, OMB, OPM, OSC, etc should be demanding an outside unbias investigation. Dateline would probably get the job done. Thanks to WTOP for reporting this story. What will happen next. WTOP have just blew the top off of the volcano; now this need to be blown out of the water. People wake up. America is one sleeping giant! Contracting and HR fraud??? The evidence is here for the asking. The major functions of the agency are all corrupt.....even the IG's security office who oversee the granting of security clearances. The Chief Financial Officer is a joke. They were all scheming together in this corruption. The HR Specialist who handles the politicals was given awards because they had her doing illegal HR practices such as converting the politicals to permanent which is against the law. Will anything come of this. This is horrendous!
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  • From my View
    Time Bandit
    on those companies winning contracts, it seems all the big dogs are getting the wins. The company I worked for was, in my opinion, awesome. I was laid off due to lack of funding from the Navy & the prime contractor, it seems the big winners are keeping the money for themselves rather than sharing with the small businesses. Little by little, those small businesses, which our government was all for, are closing their doors. Again, this leaves the big dogs to play in their wealth of contract wins, I loved my job. I left a big contractor for a smaller one because I got tired of their internal BS games, so what if I didn't have a college degree. I had 10 years experience with the Navy but here's what the government doesn't see or they choose to ignore it, contractors charge the government more money for those grads. I was working for a Submarine Group, making a salary in the very low 40's. They bring in a recent grad, guess what...because she had a degree...they gave her $20k more than me. The funny part, I had to train her to do her job. I've seen grads that didn't have a lick of common sense in their brains, one grad I worked with had no clue how to cut and paste in Power Point. The Feds are going to have to get their crap together and start seeing the real picture and where their money goes, whenever I saw a position available...not having a degree was used against me every time. Just because someone doesn't have a degree doesn't mean they aren't capable of doing the job, I was VERY capable but no one gave me the opportunity to prove it. The company I was with, gave me that opportunity. Now they are hanging by a thread because funding is running out, I may not work there anymore but you couldn't find a nicer group of people to work with.
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