January 31, 2007, - 10:19 am

Memo: Homeland Security Ranks Lowest in Morale, Management, Etc.

By Debbie Schlussel
Why am I not surprised? If you think Bush’s approval ratings are bad, check out the numbers at Homeland Security. It’s a new concept: a nadir that knows no bottom.
The Department of Homeland Security ranks 35 or 36 out of 36 agencies in a number of categories: job satisfaction, morale, leadership, management, talent, performance, knowledge of/plans for what the agency actually does, etc. It’s very scary, since the agency is supposed to be our “first line of defense” in protecting the Homeland (a myth we’ve debunked on this site over and over).
Yesterday, the other Michael Jackson (no, not the bizarro pop star who just converted to Islam), Deputy Secretary of DHS, sent out the memo confirming the devastating numbers. I post it the fertilizer-encrusted missive, here:


Michael Jackson, Deputy DHS Secretary or Michael Jackson, Bizarre Muslim Pop Singer: Hard to Tell Which One is Running Homeland Security

January 30, 2007
SUBJECT: Federal Human Capital Survey Results

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) surveyed federal employees last summer about various measures of job satisfaction and agency performance, and the results will be released today. Over 10,400 DHS employees responded and, candidly, what you said shows that DHS is not where any of us wants to be.
The survey results will be posted on the OPM website (www.opm.gov) and our own DHS intranet, and I encourage you to review them in detail. In brief, of 36 peer federal agencies surveyed, DHS ranks as follows:
36th on the job satisfaction index
35th on the leadership and knowledge management index
36th on the results-oriented performance culture index
33rd on the talent management index

These results deliver a clear and jolting message from managers and line employees alike. On whole, it is not significantly changed since OPM’s 2004 employee survey. Secretary Chertoff and I discussed these results with concern.
Initial details indicate that we get low marks in basic supervision, management and leadership. Some examples are:
Promotion and pay increase based on merit
Dealing with poor performance
Rewarding creativity and innovation
Leadership generating high levels of motivation in the workforce
Recognition for doing a good job
Lack of satisfaction with various component policies and procedures
Lack of information about what is going on with the organization

I am writing to assure you that, starting at the top, the leadership team across DHS is committed to address the underlying reasons for DHS employee dissatisfaction and suggestions for improvement.
Standing up this new and vital Department is clearly not a walk in the park, but our employees bring a passion for this mission, great professionalism and outstanding performance every single day. DHS employees have shouldered the weight of long hours, complex integration assignments, multiple reorganizations, and no small amount of criticism. In some cases you’ve had to wait too long for tools you need to succeed.
These are not excuses to rationalize where we stand, rather an acknowledgement on my part of how much our team is doing. And there are good news items in the survey for DHS. As chief operating officer of DHS, I commit to improve results. We will need your help.
Several months ago, the Secretary asked the Homeland Security Advisory Council to study and suggest a strategy for creating a stronger common culture. This month, drawing on the experience of top executives in the private sector, the Council has delivered a set of recommendations for promoting a culture of excellence in DHS.
In the days ahead, our Under Secretary for Management, Paul Schneider, will join the Secretary and me in evaluating carefully the details of the OPM survey and the HSAC report. Our first steps will be to analyze thoroughly the survey data, including specific attention to those government organizations that are recognized for their high performance in these areas, and determine the specific steps to improvement. This process will include the leadership team in each operating component and every headquarters unit to discuss details of the survey with our workforce. We will do so with a sense of urgency and seriousness.
Strengthening core management is one of the Secretary’s highest priorities and the key elements are effective communications and proper recognition of our workforce. You deserve nothing less. We will build on some good work that has already been done to chart a path forward on these issues. We will then go where you point us, to improve job satisfaction for the DHS team.
Along the way, I will continue to ask for your help and guidance. Thanks in advance for that assistance, and thanks for what you are doing each day for DHS.

Well past time to fix this sinking ship. America’s borders and national security depend on it.

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11 Responses

We have all been asked the question, “If you worked all day writing a report, and at the end of the day, you were call in, and your report was torn and burned before your eyes. How long would you work at that job?” – Answer: Not long!

Burt on January 31, 2007 at 11:10 am

If Chertoff, Jackson, and Julie Myers had to try to compete in the private sector, and not have their patronage jobs bestowed upon them as political gifts and family rewards, they would be fired.
If a branch office or division of a private-sector business consistently and insistently finished at the very bottom in ALL AREAS of measurement, the manager(s) would be shown the door immediately. If these “honorable” public servants had any self-esteem, and truly wanted what is best for the country, they would immediately apologiz, acknowledge their poor stewardship of a the Department and announce their immediate resignations.

DDB on January 31, 2007 at 11:15 am

Interesting survey, but is anybody surprised by this, and the fact that the results were the same in 2004?
I found it interesting that BBG, the agency that’s in charge of “bringing news and information to the people around the world in 61 languages” also has some extremely unhappy employees who don’t have much faith in their management’s integrity. Sounds like the “Voice of America” is not doing a bang-up job either. No wonder everybody hates us.

Stealthkix on January 31, 2007 at 11:16 am

Although Jacko hasn’t converted to Islam yet, could you imagine the fit right wingers would throw if Deputy Secretary of DHS,Michael Jackson, converted to Islam? That would be freakin’ hilarious!

Norman Blitzer on January 31, 2007 at 12:43 pm

Unfortunately, this is no joke. These fucktards are responsible for protecting Americans and America. However, you really can’t expect these people to do much when you consider that the mission, the guidance, the resources, the policies, and the determination comes from the White House. And when you have a White House that believes in open borders, engages in kissing the Saudi ass (as all administrations have done), and is completely preoccupied with the nightmare in Iraq there can be none of the aforementioned.
During the 1960’s, we got to the moon because there was the mission, the determination, the resources, the policy, and national prestige, and it all came from the top! Nowadays, all that comes from the top are confusion and contradictions.

Thee_Bruno on January 31, 2007 at 1:10 pm

The hierarchy of this organization (DHS), including Secretary Chertoff, should turn in their resignations or be shown the door involuntarily. These people are charged with protecting the country. Although I am a staunch supporter of his, President Bush needs to step up here. Frankly, he’s done in two years. What a great time to swing the “bloody axe” and get something done before he departs. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead…. cut the miltary loose to hammer terrosits anywhere they find them, put armed guards on the border and shoot people (that should slow things down) crossing illegally, immediately execute drug dealers caught at the border, etc. None of this is barbaric. It’s merely exercising our right to protect our sovereignty. Period.

FreeAmerican on January 31, 2007 at 1:16 pm

I love the shoot the drug smugglers idea but land mines in the best way to secure the border. One or two dead or maimed from them and you got that security we’ve all been clamoring for. I’d force most of the State Dept to resign, eliminate their positions and put that money saved into payting off the deficit. The monetary gifts to world cleptopcracies should save a bunch to and finally, the UN is history as it is now. No money, just the exit door. Turtle Bay will be lasting monument to the idiocy of allowing Liberals to plan anything that would superimpose unelected world government on a sovereign nation.

Islamsnotforme on January 31, 2007 at 1:57 pm

The memorandum from Michael Jackson was practice. Here is the real one he sent out, hopefully.
By the time you read this I will have reorganized my direct reports. The good ones remain. The rest have been replaced. This process will filter down through the entire DHS. We have pissed away 5 years and billions. No more. The borders are now closed. Terrorists will be shot on sight. This is war, until there is peace. Iran, you have 5 weeks to shape up. Iraq you have 5 days. Europe, take a vacation at Normandy beach and figure out who has saved your ass, multiple times.
Don’t tread on me!!!
Best regards, M. Jackson

Happiness Pursuer on January 31, 2007 at 2:00 pm

The headline seems the logical conclusion to political nonsense. Though I won’t name names, on the occasion of the birth of Homeland Security several of my friends in the real national security branches made identical comments …. that HS would be an epic cluster-goat-roundup because of how HS was tasked to be staffed. US Agencies and Bureaus were required to second people on their payrolls to the newly created HS. And so the flotsam, jetsam and non-starters were promptly flushed out of real agencies over to HS. The place may be staffed with some percentage of hard working folk who take seriously our national security, but for the most part I am told HS is staffed with losers other agencies were eager to unload.
That’s so self-evident a tactic that it is truth beyond argument. Dumping deadwood on a newbie agency that’s going to step all over your turf. That’s sounds 100% to me, so naturally HS has low morale and chronic dumbness.

Johnny Yuma on January 31, 2007 at 3:48 pm

Why was this memo sent by the *deputy* Secretary rather than by the Secretary? Doesn’t that signal that the Sec himself regards his management/leadership function as something less than a priority?

photoncourier.blogspot.com on January 31, 2007 at 4:51 pm

Those are really appalling numbers. No private company could survive with those kinds of numbers. Montgomery, Jackson and Myers gotta go.

John Sobieski on February 1, 2007 at 1:33 am

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