The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) has fired another shot in its ongoing battle with Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue. Here are a few excerpts from a letter sent by Witold Skwierczynski, the head of the AFGE for Social Security, to Commissioner Astrue, sent just in time for tomorrow's House Ways and Means Committee hearing:
... [T]he Union has learned that you intend to fill the following vacancies:
1450 Field – DCO
1000 DDSIf these figures are accurate, rather than hiring 5000-6000 employees in SSA as you stated in your 2/17/09 Commissioner broadcast, the Agency is only hiring about 2600 SSA workers and 1000 DDS workers. The field which is about 58% of the SSA workforce will only receive about 25% of the new employees that you stated in your 2/17/09 broadcast that SSA would hire in 2009. ...
It is also evident that managers in the field have been instructed to use discredited non competitive hiring authorities such as the Federal Career Intern Program (FCIP) to fill SSA vacancies. Managers are informing employees that they are seeking new hires at colleges and using other non-competitive sources. Jobs are not being posted on the USA jobs network for competitive hires. ...
SSA’s own statistics indicate that in FY 08 62% of hires in SSA were done under FCIP. Only 4.68% of these hires were veterans. Only 26% of hires in SSA in FY 08 were done under competitive procedures. ...
AFGE has also received a number of reports from employees complaining that managers have used FCIP to hire their relatives, friends, neighbors, fellow church members, etc. Examples are the FCIP hire of Ryan Kulinski, son of Milwaukee DT District Manager Mark Kulinski or the FCIP hiring of Mark Fansler, nephew of Seattle Area Director Steve Dymale. Both Kulinski and Fansler were not only FCIP hires but they were quickly selected at the first opportunity to higher graded positions instead of highly qualified veteran employees who were not related to management. ... If the Agency persists in using FCIP as a hiring mechanism AFGE will seriously consider filing a law suit to force the Agency to terminate this hiring mechanism which was not ever designed for the routine hiring that SSA is using with stimulus revenue.