Fired for Poor Performance? Are You Serious?…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, March 5, 2007

Man oh man oh man. It just keeps getting worse. (Or I suppose better, if you happen to be an editorial cartoonist with an ax to grind.)

A couple of weeks ago, several U.S Attorneys resigned (i.e., got sacked) by the Bush Administration’s Justice Department (i.e., Karl Rove). One happened to be from West Michigan, which allowed me to opine on the matter. At the time, I didn’t much know or care about the internal mechanics of why it happened. What caught me was the audacity of the official explanation: Poor performance.

Now poor performance is a completely legitimate excuse for firing somebody. In fact, I’d say it rates at the top with “stole all the money” and “is actively trying to kill co-workers.” No, my issue is that up until this point, poor performance has never seemed to be a problem with the Bush Administration. I don’t have time to list the lists, but for a case in point I give you Donald Rumsfeld. I can’t imagine a poorer performance as Secretary of Defense and yet the only reason he seemed to leave was avoid having to defend himself to a newly unfriendly Congress. Oy!

In the weeks since, the U.S. Attorney thing has only continued to blow up in several ways, all seeming to dovetail nicely with my original point. The cherry on top is that this happens to be Sunshine Week. (See my previous post.)

What more reason do you need to see how essential it is to keep a government open and information free?

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