Monday, July 14, 2014

This week's C&EN

Too much good stuff in this week's issue:

10 comments:

  1. Poor GOV management? Probably. This is also probably exacerbated by an aging GOV work force that is use to lack luster oversight, better than banking working hours, and so much use-or-lose PTO that the general public could never fathom having so much. I work for a different agency, but from my networking with other young GOV chemists, I know younger workers have been jumping ship due to a lack of promotion potential and generally poor management.

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    1. You do realize that the CSB investigative staff is, oh, about 20 people, right? Networking with all those federally employed chemists probably doesn't give you a clue about what's happening in the CSB.

      Oh, and it's called "annual leave" not "PTO."

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    2. Perhaps you might enlighten us to your observations on the happenings inside the CSB then?

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    3. Certainly...

      I have none.

      And neither do you, which was my point.

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    4. The correspondences I have had with a recent former employee and current investigator when the CSB had an opening for "Recent Graduates" not too long ago begs to differ.

      Your tone speaks more towards your frame of thinking than what you're actually writing. Harping on whether I use PTO or AL does nothing to discredit me. Its is well known that much of the GOV work force is older, and simple search on LinkedIn of employees at the CSB quickly confirms that. GOV employees with 15+ years get 8 h of AL every PP, and with the 240 h annual cap many have plenty of use-or-lose time.

      The fact that management at CSB caps most positions at GS-12 leaves a bit to be desired, especially for engineers and IHs with a CIH that can earn significantly more in the private sector. So yes, younger employees are motivated to leave for greener pastures.

      Now, would you care to continue this fact checking exercise, or maybe you just want to try and intimidate me some more?

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  2. 1) It might help if CSB actually had sufficient resources and their complete staff in place, which they haven't for a while. Not having enough people or resources probably amplifies the personal and political issues that might be present. Congress could do something about personeel and resource allocation, but they haven't. It might give a cynical one the idea that someone would prefer not to allow CSB sufficient resources to do its job and would prefer to complain, instead.

    2) I would have had a hard time not committing a career-limiting(terminating) move on being told by Congressman Issa that he doesn't have confidence in me. ("Do you know enough about my job to investigate your way out of a wet paper bag?")

    (no I don't have any inside knowledge of CSB either - most of mine comes from C+EN)

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    1. Seems to me both Waxman and Cummings are concerned about goings on at CSB:

      http://democrats.oversight.house.gov/press-releases/cummings-issues-statement-on-waxman-letter-on-chemical-safety-board/

      http://www.publicintegrity.org/2014/06/19/14973/leadership-chemical-safety-board-questioned-amid-investigation-backlog

      I presume the latest, partisan nature of the matter is House Republicans looking for poorly functioning portions of the government as election fodder.

      Nevertheless, I want CSB to be as well-funded and well-functioning as possible.

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    2. And, yes, I presume that #1 seems about right.

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    3. #1 is a problem across many agencies tasked with regulating an industry.

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  3. I think the chair's insistence on ISP/safety case is probably at the core of this; I could see it both as a political target because of the chemical industry's distaste for ISP and a case where the chair has a policy goal in mind and isn't very good at listening to input that doesn't fit his goal. I don't know which one is operative here.

    CSB had issues with EPA earlier, as well, where EPA had to be enjoined from stomping on CSB by Congress, so Congress can do something if need be (and the support was rather bipartisan - see http://cen.acs.org/articles/91/i28/Blowup-Over-Ammonium-Nitrate.html). I would have loved to read about the EPA person getting a "contempt of Congress" citation.

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