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Holy Smokes, there are a lot of sides to this: not only constituents, but elected officials are to blame. Politicians routinely humiliate, threaten, and bully staff in public, and in private expect their behavior to be treated as "part of the game."

Staff are pawns in disputes in fights among elected officials, and staff work is difficult to complete because any competent senior official is only too aware of the implications of their work to each combatant - only a complete lack of awareness would actually assure objectivity, but lack of awareness is not actually a possibility.

There are also abysmal, toxic public employees who can't be changed or dismissed, just moved to places where they won't be as much of a problem.

Every burdensome form, certification, attestation, etc. that is required of businesses or people has a genesis: I've been there for the creation of a variety of these. Because my governing body couldn't do anything about the embarrassing activities of a contractor, a new form and self-certification of cleanliness was created so the governors could be seen to be "doing something". The list is endless.

The over-riding point is that people should treat the people before them, government employees or not, based on the situational facts of the human interaction before them. However, this requires people to be situationally present, thoughtful, and committed to appropriate behavior. This is challenging for many people to pull off.

It's even harder to pull off when the other person belongs to a "morally castigated" group, like smokers, drunk drivers, sex criminals, or, after three decades of relentless castigation, government employees.

by jnb on Feb 17, 2013 12:05 pm • linkreport

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