By Ann Boehm, December 4, 2023

Dear Santa:

I hope you’ve had a wonderful 2023. Are the elves pushing for a hybrid environment? I hope the reindeer are not working remotely! Especially not on December 24, because that would be a real problem!

My year has gone well. I have done more in-person training this year, which is fun. Remote still works too.

I have been behaving. But Congress – not so much. More on that in a second.

I am working hard on writing efficiently and effectively, so I am going to put my requested Christmas items in order of importance.

  1. A pony.

I really feel like it’s only a matter of time until a pony appears at my house on Christmas!

  1. A budget from Congress.

Actually, several budgets are needed in 2024. Some need to pass in January. Some need to pass in February. And, oh yeah, how about a budget by September 30 for a change? (I realize this one may be tougher than the pony.) Please don’t let the naughty behavior of the Members of Congress hurt the good Federal employees who are tired of budget deadline drama.

  1. Revision of all collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) that have Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs) lasting more than 30 days. (I am really asking for a lot this year. I know that!)

I feel sad when I see a CBA with a 90-day PIP. If 30 days works for the Merit Systems Protection Board, why should CBAs ever require more than 30-day PIPs? Help the unions understand this, please!

  1. Hatch Act compliance by all Federal employees. 

It’s a big election year. And it’s going to be ugly. Federal employees need to remember that the Hatch Act prevents certain political activities, because they work in a merit system. The Office of Special Counsel will send out lots of guidance. Read it! For the good of the public, Federal employees need to abide by the Hatch Act’s requirements.

  1. Effective communication in the workplace.

Please help managers communicate effectively with employees, and employees voice appropriate concerns to managers. Also, help managers be aware they need to inform advisors about problem employees as soon as they sense a problem. And advisors need to listen to the managers’ concerns and do their best to help – not just provide a knee-jerk “no, we can’t do that” reaction.

Santa, I said that my list was in order of importance, but then I realized what I really want for Christmas. Please help the candidates for President, members of Congress, the media, and the public appreciate the hard work and truly public service provided by Federal employees. There are so many amazing people working in many different capacities in our Federal agencies. With the exception of a few bad eggs (that we at FELTG try to help managers and advisors handle appropriately), we have an amazing Federal workforce! And you know what Santa – that’s Good News.

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!  [email protected]

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