Jun 12, 2015

A Whistleblower's Tale

     Michael James Keegan, who was formerly Social Security's Associate Commissioner for Facilities and Supply Management testified yesterday before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Here are some excerpts from his written statement:
In January 2012, I was assigned as the Project Executive for the construction of a replacement data center in Urbana, MD. ... The center piece of the justification presented to Congress was that the National Computing Center building was beyond economical repair, in terrible condition and had to be replaced in totality. Additionally, SSA officials testified that it was legally required that the new data center be located at least 35 miles from the existing National Computing Center in Woodlawn, MD....
[In early 2013] I gave [my supervisor] a detailed briefing on serious issues that I believed included misleading Congress, waste and abuse. They included:
  1. The case to replace the existing National Computing Center (NCC) was “overstated” and relied too heavily on the premise that the NCC was in “terrible condition” and could no longer support the agency mission.
  2. The rationale and references used to justify relocating the new National Support Center (data center) 35 miles from the existing campus were very “broadly” interpreted at best and not applicable at all in my opinion.
  3. Retention of the existing NCC building was absolutely essential to house the ~925 employees who must remain when the data center function was relocated.
  4. In working with GSA [General Services Administration, which has jurisdiction over federal buildings], SSA [Social Security Administration] staff and reviewing historical files, I had discovered that SSA has awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in poorly developed and in many cases, unneeded projects.
  5. That prior to my arrival there had been no controls on travel and that many OFSM [Office of Facilites and Supply Management] employees have traveled widely across the United States to various SSA locations without adequate justification or business purpose.
  6. My efforts at reducing overtime from ~60,000 hours in 2011 to ~25,000 hours in 2012 had revealed significant abuses and unsubstantiated use of overtime inconsistent with SSA policies. The impact of my work yielded a reduction in overtime expenditures from 2011 to 2012 of approximately $2,500,000. ...
On April 26, 2014 I was called by [my supervisor] and he instructed me as follows:
* I am to "forget" the issues that I brought to his attention.
* That "he" will handle this with no specifics what that meant.
* That I will no longer be required at the quarterly Congressional staff briefings before the House Ways & Means Committee, Subcommittee on Social Security. ...
[O]n May 2, 2013, I was summoned to a short notice meeting with [my supervisor]. He proceeded to tell me that I was being placed under formal investigation due to unspecified "complaints".
On May 21, 2013, [my supervisor] appeared in my office and informed me that I had been relieved of my duties and that I had 30 minutes to clear out my office. Additionally, I was given a direct order not to communicate with any of my employees. I was then directed to report to the Operations organization in a temporary assignment.
During the period from May 21st until early December, I was confined to an empty office with little or no work to do, no responsibilities and very little contact with other SSA employees. I made numerous requests for updates and status on the "investigation" however [my supervisor] did not respond to any of my inquiries. ...
The alleged genesis of the investigation SSA launched against me was done solely to retaliate against me. According to [my supervisor], the decision to have me investigated happened after he met with Cynthia Ennis, AFGE [American Federation of Government Employees] Union president at SSA, who provided him a number of written complaints against me.  ...
My job at SSA was not to be liked by employees. The American taxpayer didn't pay me to accomplish that goal. SSA is not a country club or someone's living room. It's an Agency tasked with administering benefits to the elderly and disabled. It's there to serve our citizens, rather than our citizens serving SSA management. ...
In summary, despite the fact that I had a flawless 44 year performance history including two superior performance reviews (2011 and 2012) at SSA, I was forced to retire in disgrace,dishonor and financial hardship due to the fact that I choose to do the right thing and report fraud, waste and abuse.
      Is he a whistleblower revealing serious problems at Social Security? Is he a crank? Is he some of both? That's the problem with whistleblowers. It's hard to know.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Based on my experience, sounds like he's dead on! Very common - don't question the higher ups, just be a "yes man".

Anonymous said...

Sadly, I must concur. I was made aware of multiple cases of workplace bullying at SSA to the point of employees, all with a decade or more with the agency, pushed out the door or leaving under ultimatums.... Union representatives do talk among themselves.

Anonymous said...

Keegan, and the commenters above, are spot on. Unfortunately, this is business as usual at SSA and ODAR. There is a looming scandal involving SSA's "Scathing" reputation for its handling of EEO cases; employee engagement in the perpetuation of domestic violence and workplace bullying/mobbing to the point of criminal conduct and the destruction or attempted destruction of target employees' careers; and persistent retaliation against whistleblowers who reveal this and other wrongdoing, which the highest SSA and ODAR officials are well aware, but for years, have chosen to turn a deaf ear and do absolutely nothing. The time for accountability has finally arrived.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, all the above commenters are correct. I've witnessed everything mentioned. Anon 1:02 hints that accountability is on the horizon. I hope that's true. As a country that prides itself on preventing abuse and upholding civil rights throughout the world, it's ironic that some of the worst transgressions occur in federal work environments.

Please watch the hearing, especially the question and answer portion after the formal statements. The testimony is compelling, some responses are heartbreaking, and the idea that these things happen to people who are allegedly speaking the truth is disturbing.

http://www.hsgac.senate.gov/hearings/blowing-the-whistle-on-retaliation-accounts-of-current-and-former-federal-agency-whistleblowers

Anonymous said...

Ok kids, let's start writing a wiki in advance...

Social Security Administration scandal of 2015 - Wikipedia

Dan Smith said...

The only problem with whistle blowers is that there aren't enough of them

Anonymous said...


3:16AM stated, "Ok Kids, let's start writing a wiki..."

This is the type of flippant remark, tone, and attitude exhibited by many coworkers in abusive work environments. You know all about the abuse, partake and even thrive on all the humorous office gossip and laughter over the abuser's latest exploits, and never report what's going on. Frankly, you are just as bad, if not worse, then the abusers. Your conduct enables, and even facilitates, the bullying/mobbing and workplace abuse. What's worse, you are often a professional and/or a manager. Shame on you. Workplace bullying/mobbing and abuse is every bit as harmful, if not more so, than childhood "kid" bullying, as you try to liken it. With workplace bullying/mobbing and abuse, the targets livelihood and ability to provide for his/her family is often destroyed, not to mention the damage to their reputation, future earning capacity, and physical and psychological health, to name a few.

Anonymous said...

I can speak first hand. I was bullied by management and falsely accused of acts I did not commit. Management could not stand that I am smarter and more secure in who I am than they are. They did not like that I pointed out some things that they were doing. I fought the charges and lived to tell the tale, but only because I kept excellent records and had outstanding Union representation. DO and HO managers are nothing more than middle management who have very little power and even less protection. Most of them are despicable human beings, will lie and throw their mother under the bus to save their jobs. I am very disappointed in people I once respected and trusted.However, what happened to me is poor reflection on them but should be a cautionary tale to everyone else.

Anonymous said...

Misleading congress is an oxymoron. They can't be led let alone misled. Congressional staff toured the computer center and those members involved knew what they were doing.

Anonymous said...

This story is very believable and is more common than one might think. Many of the upper management misdeeds are hidden under the cloak of EEOC settlement agreements with strict non-disclosure provisions.

Anonymous said...

God bless the rules of evidence. You may not like SSA management but most of Keegan's allegations sound like the words of an outsider who who didn't mesh with the organization. Read his testimony. It's a mish mash of speculation and opinion. Look for a conspiracy if you want, but it is going to take more than a guy wrapping himself in the flag and saying I'm right and everyone else is wrong. It's going to take evidence. I just can't feel sorry for a senior exec who gets knocked down. The average schmo deals with stuff like this everyday.

Anonymous said...

Sorry 10:31...I read the statement in its entirety twice and I find him thoroughly convincing. He's certainly more convincing than anything promulgated by Ms.Colvin since she's been at the helm. And what's this "mesh with the organization" all about? I've heard that expression before. It's often just another way of saying an employee "refused to cover up and lie for the bosses."

Anonymous said...

After multiple desk audits, impossible scheduling and constant threats I left the field office I worked in. SSA lost a rare TII and TXVI CR, I was also the Medicare Outreach Coordinator during the Part D roll out. I laugh every time I see the SSA touted as the best place to work in government. They must exclude the SRs and CRs from the poll. Of the CRs I trained with, 4 of the 5 left SSA inside of 8 years. The one that reamains is anti-Number Holder. I saw this type of situation within the agency.

Anonymous said...

10:31...


You exhibit everything that is wrong, but all too common, in abusive work environments. You are the coworker who enables the abuse to continue, and managers get away with all types of wrongdoing. You are often motivated by your own potential for personal gain.

You speak of the, "Rules of Evidence," but you offer nothing substantive from an evidentiary standpoint to support your assertions. I have also read Keegan's testimony thoroughly and find him extremely credible based on my 3 decades with ODAR.

ODAR and SSA have a terrible track record for creating and allowing abusive work environments to fester, and losing some of its most intelligent and best employees to being pushed out the door by inept managers who feel threatened by the target employees' knowledge, skills and abilities.

Ms. Colvin has done nothing to stop any of this. To the contrary, her actions and age suggest she accepts this old school top down management style which does nothing more than create and allow such abusive work environments to fester and get out of control. She is part of the problem; not the solution, which is why she is NOT the Commissioner today, thank goodness.

Your, "Mesh with the organization," assertion intimates ODAR and SSA strive to have a 'Kumb-by-ya' work environment in their offices. Again, this is part of the problem. Like Keegan, I was not hired to be liked by my coworkers, and our offices are not, 'living rooms,' for constant 'Kumb-by-ya' socialization with one another. I was hired to do the best job I can for the taxpayers; not an attraction for socialization with my coworkers.

Anonymous said...


10:31PM said, "God bless the rules of evidence. You may not like SSA management but..."

It sounds to me like you are a mob participant in an abusive work environment who believes the Rules of Evidence will shield you from being held to account for the abuse, bullying/mobbing, wrongdoing, and perhaps even criminal conduct, you and other coworker mob participants have engaged. I would encourage you to review those Rules of Evidence, and to consult the US. Government Ethics Rules for Federal employees and Judical Rules for Conduct of ALJ's, and any applicable Ethics Rules pertaining to your profession, such as State Bar Ethics Rules and Judicial Ethics Rules. I suspect you may want to rethink your Protected status and ability to be held to accountable.

Anonymous said...

It is time for new leadership at SSA. Employees serve the public and do a fantastic job. They can do a better job if they were not plagued by discrimination, retaliation and bullying. Currently there are three class action lawsuits at various stages at the agency. The agency choose to settle the fourth case-a non-race based class action lawsuit. The three race base class actions cases were filled in 1995, 2002 and thereafter. The agency is in breach of one, one a finding of discrimination was found at the EEOC and the agency is appealing. The American taxpayers are saddled with paying the legal fees of management officials who discriminate, retaliate and place employees in hostile working environments instead of attempting to resolve the matters. There should be mandatory disciplinary action for any manager at any grade level found guilty of discrimination, bullying or retaliation and the federal government should not pay for the managers legal fees. High ranking officials should be held to a higher standard, which means abide by the laws, rules and regulations. They should also take the blinders off and not rely of the false information provided by their managers. There should be a full investigation of SSA and the Acting Commissioner.

Anonymous said...

When is enough truly enough? The allegations brought forth by Mr. Keegan deserve and must have an honest and impartial look. This means that a truly independent and credible (NOT OIG) entity must fully and completely investigate what is going on at SSA. Having been at SSA for 27 years, I can assure you that Ms. Colvin has done nothing to improve the agency or the Lot of it's employees. I can personally attest to a culture of wasteful spending and lack of accountability.

Anonymous said...

I'm hearing charges but no supporting facts.

1 - His opinion (emphasis supplied)is that the documentation on the status of the NCC was "overstated", making the implication that the new data center wasn't really needed. Seriously? Ask anyone working in the building (or fixing the place) and if that's his opinion, his decision making abilities are already in question.

2 - Again, in his opinion, the need to be located away from Baltimore wasn't applicable. Well, god bless his opinion.

3 - Not sure what the issue is, the building never should have had so many employees and the mainframes in it and if the building can hold employees safely after the computing resources leave, this was the official plan. So what does #3 mean?

4 - Again, we have his opinion that projects were poorly developed or unneeded. Given the allegations that SSA had awarded hundreds of millions worth of these projects, one has to look at agency budgets and wonder just where these hundreds of millions were hiding.

5 - Anyone find they had carte blanche in travel any time from 2008 - to date? No oversight, no federal controls, no agency controls? Now, did folks in facilities travel? Seems likely. But when we get back to the core, it is again his opinion that the travel lacked adequate justification.

6 - Here we finally get something that doesn't depend on opinion and likely has evidence.

I find it interesting that he mentions that the union had provided a number of employee complaints to his management. It does seem whatever was going on, he pissed off not just his slaves (sorry, employees, but then again, his job wasn't to be liked....) but his management and the union. Tri-fecta!

I'm sorry, until the evidence shows any of these charges to be credible, I'm seeing a self-important wanna be whose ego got the best of him. Items 1 -5 are at this time just his opinion against what the agency did. Doesn't make the agency wrong if they did something he thought they shouldn't have.

Speaking of hyperbole, it's hard to see how a retiring after 44 years results in a financial hardship. If he was CSRS, he was maxed, and if he switched to FERS, well, like I said, his opinion of himself may be bigger than it should be.

Anonymous said...


11:02PM...

I bet the bosses just love you. You appear to be willing to bend over backwards, cover-up, and do ANYTHING. I have no doubt your motive is your own personal gain. In my 3 decades with ODAR, you have positioned yourself well to be chosen to move up the career ladder, while the most bright, intelligent, and best employees continue to be pushed out the door by unscrupulous managers who feel threatened by them. Before this goes any further, I sincerely hope drastic changes are made to this inept, inefficient, wasteful management structure, which has a proven track record of covering-up wrongdoing and retaliating against any employee who refuses to participate in the cover-up.

I want to point out I have never met, or spoken with Mr. Keegan, or employees who worked with him. That being said, you still have not provided any convincing arguments in your effort to refute his testimony in support of the 'holy grail' SSA management team. I have thoroughly read through and watched Mr. Keegan's testimony, and find it incredibly convincing and truthful. Although you often retort his assertions are his "opinion," you fail to note he personally experienced everything to which he testified; has first hand knowledge of the facts as he lived through them; provided evidence to his supervisor long ago which documented everything to which he testified, i.e., the waste of taxpayer money on Agency officials' travels, facilities built that were never needed in the first place, etc.; and since he is no longer with the Agency, he has no motive to be untruthful. Moreover, your own arguments are nothing more than your 'opinion' and offer no evidentiary proof whatsoever.

Employees like you enable, and even facilitate the abuse. I especially want to bring attention to your statements about complaints against Mr. Keegan some of his employees filed with the union and, that because the whole, "Tri-fecta," was against him, i.e., his employees, management, and the union, he is the problem not any of them. This is nothing more than classic mobbing at its best. It often starts with an employee or manager who, for whatever reason, decides s/he does not like the person/target employee. The negative gossip from this employee(s) or manager(s) then spreads like wildfire through the office. Before you know it, employees find they can only be a member of the "in" crowd at the office by actively, or at least passively, participating in the negativity being spread about the target employee. Managers are generally quite good at psychologically manipulating employees in the office to either go along or be the recipient of retaliation. So, the first thing you know is you have a gang, or mob, in the office which consists of a group of managers and coworkers. Coworkers in this gang are often bargaining unit employees and members of their union.

When the target employee is also a union member, time and time again the union blindly accepts the complaints of the coworker union members, and refuses to do anything on behalf of the target union member. Thus, the mob rules and the target union member gets no help from the union. As you can see, your, "Tri-fecta," argument only reinforces what has been said in the comments above about workplace mobbing, bullying, and abuse.

ODAR and SSA have an extremely serious problem with workplace bullying/mobbing and abuse; an inept management scheme and structure; a "scathing" reputation for its handling of EEO cases; and a track record of ignoring, responding, or doing anything about workplace abuse, even when it is brought to the attention of the highest Agency officials. Something has got to be done soon. I agree with 10:29PM above, Mr. Keegan, others who testified at the Congressional hearing, and numerous EEO cases documenting very similar facts deserve a fair, impartial, credible, and independent investigation, which should not in anyway involve the OIG or investigators retained by the Agency.

Anonymous said...

Dear 2:37 you've obviously been scarred by your ODAR experience; I've worked in Operations and OHA and the rest of SSA may have flaws but it's nothing like what you see in operational components where they would chain you to the desk and beat out cadence on a drum if they could. The problem with your analysis is that Keegan did not work there. He was a boss in a BS component who appears not to have understood the chain of command. I do not understand your sympathy for him.

Anonymous said...

Dear 2:37

I've read the testimony, and unlike you who seems predisposed to fill in the numerous blanks contained therein with magic, I simply point out the blanks exist. It may make sense that the testimony consists primarily of accusations with almost zero supporting statements other than HIS OPINION. That means we've no facts to make a judgement on, so I'm willing to let the status quo continue. His opinion, your opinion, your opinion of his opinion are worth whatever weight you want to put on them, but accusations supported only by opinion does not a fact make. So I'm giving them the evidenciary weight they deserve.

As 7:19 says, you have been traumatized at work, and that's a shame, many of us had different experiences but turning this testimony into your stalking horse to carry your hurts is sad. It does seem you see the entire workplace aligned against you, union, management and co-workers. You have a complaint, man up and say so officially instead of hoping that a whistleblower about a building will somehow become your spokesperson about workplace bullying. It ain't gonna happen.

Anonymous said...

I feel compelled to point out that the above most recent comment makes an ASSUMPTION that Mr. Keegan has no proof. Really? Do we really think that a senior Senate Committee Chairman would just put a "whiner" or "Ego driven" individual on the hearing agenda and Cspan? I doubt it. My sense is that the committee staff is smart enough to do enough due diligence to at least validate the basic facts.

I feel very strongly that there should be an impartial and through investigation by an entity, such as GAO, who has no ties nor allegiance to the agency.

Anonymous said...

Congress being impartial, ,are you kidding? The only hope to sort this out is a qui tam suit and to prevail you need real evidence.

Anonymous said...

8:19 you need to read what's written.

I didn't say that there wasn't proof, just that the testimony consists of primarily accusations and his opinions. No specific proofs are in the testimony. Never said there wasn't proof, just that what is presented contains none. You sir are making a leap to assume that proof exists, and even coming to conclusions about this still not seen proof while I am waiting to see and hear it before forming an opinion.

As for the hill staff? I don't mean this meanly, but you sir are naive. Here you are operating on "your sense" while I get to operate on having had actual interaction with "hill staff". You give most of them way too much credit and ignore the fact that they are often more politically partisan than the member. There is an underlying agenda at play here that is indeed politically partisan and is so not impartial. And because politics is as much theater as anything else, this doesn't have to be real at all, if it scores political points. It will have served its purpose for that reason alone.

But I agree it'd be nice to have someone who hasn't already convicted the agency on Keegans testimony alone look under the hood and see what facts actually exist and the veracity of the accusations. If Keegan is right, if teh facts show him to be right, I'll certainly change my opinion. But until there are facts out there we can read and examine, this is still he said, she said and who is guilty is not clear.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that there is now a news story on Fox News that includes quotes from Former Commissioner Astrue that at least, in part, backs up Mr. Keegan's allegations.

Having spent 36 years at SSA, I tend to believe that the allegations are true. Only an impartial investigation will tell for sure. That will never happen.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately Keegan is playing the victim and agreed with all decisions until senior management had to take action on Keegan's behavior and the fact he began to be a liability as his management style was abusive at best. Keegan received topcover on his behavior until the two senior executives that brought him in left SSA or accepted jobs else where. Karma is amazing as the alleged treatment Keegan states he is receiving is what he was doing to a number of employees before losing his top cover. Keegan is not detailing the pressure he placed on managers to get the job done at the same rate prior to an almost three year hiring freeze in which a number of employees departed. Managers were put in the position as if they were directing the employees to work free as Keegan personally managed "All" overtime hours. Keegan is not truthful and his departure was a God's send of SSA. Keegan's favorite saying was "if you dont't like what I am doing, vote with your feet" Well Keegan, seemingly an absentee vote was submitted on your behalf. Move on with your life, you have ruined enough Federal employee lives.

Anonymous said...

It never ceases to amaze me how people make judgements absent the facts. I have been at SSA for a number of years and was a member of Keegan's direct management staff. I admit that I didn't agree with all that he did but in all honesty, I must say that he was straightforward, honest and not afraid to make the tough calls. When he came onboard, overtime was out of control. travel was not managed and there was no project management process in place.

I personally heard him say on numerous occasions that he didn't believe that the new data center was justified.

My SSA coworker who commented at 5:33pm tipped his or her hand. The comments are obviously based on losing the "free": overtime. My interest is more in doing what is best for the agency and the taxpayer.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:07: I have been at SSA a number of years too and if you were a direct member of Keegans management team you are well aware of the bullying, intimidation, and hostile environment Keegan created. This type behavior is against the law. Although this management style may have been accepted years ago, in indusrtry, or in a military environment, its not acceptable in the Federal government. Keegans actions are simply a result of his removal from his SES position and the new administration unwilling to accept the liability of his behavior. Keegan was ask to tone it down by General Counsel and he continued to press his luck. I respect your position but those of us that experienced Keegan advised him but he refused to listen. I think it speaks volumes that of the 500 people he managed less than 10 were willing to vouch for him. Lastly, in the Federal Government and with employee rights, you cant have in some cases 35%of the workforce retire and worked ot before retirement to keep up with workload, bully there managers to get the same amount of work completed without ot or additional employees just to pad your evaluation for reducing ot hours. This my friend is not what i heard but what i know. If you been at SSA for the time you noted, you know you have to really screw it up for senior executives to put you in a office with no one and no supervision or interaction with staff to minimize agency liability. But I do respect your position.

Anonymous said...

Spot-on!

Anonymous said...

Regarding the statement that Keegan did say numerous times he "believed" the new data center was unnecessary, all I can say is that I worked for a senior manager in Systems who strongly and vocally believed that it was a waste of money to network personal computers together. He was sincere and very vocal and as it turned out, very wrong. I'm sure most of us can recall work experiences where decisions were heated, one got made and as it turned out, it was the right one. (Or the wrong one, point being "sides" won and lost. Adults learn and move on, non-adults keep fighting.) Believing we don't need something and having proof that the agency acted improperly in setting things up to get that something are not the same and proof should be made available; until then what we have are accusations and opinions.

As for Astrue and the new data center, the man was a mix; not sure how much to take him at his word after he came right out at a meeting I was in and said that the white males 50 and over aren't SES material as far as he was concerned and the next 2 SES classes had almost none. Opening up SES to younger folks and outsiders was a good goal, but the way it was done? The fact this was illegal didn't get in the way of trying to accomplish his goal. For me, it calls into question his veracity, I can't believe him just because of who he is. (Leave as an exercise to the reader whether or not those younger and outsider SES folks actually are working out.....)

Anonymous said...

First and foremost, I have the greatest respect for EVERYONE who has commented,
I am hesitant to do this however, some facts are needed here. I have worked at SSA for many years in a "people related" entity/position of considerable authority and information. We need to ask ourselves a question prior to rush to judgement. I didn't know Keegan very well and have heard and read all the negatives. One question that I wonder about is this: How did he manage to have a 44 year unblemished military, private company and SES at four agencies with outstanding PR's including his first two at SSA?

Secondly, let's think about the long list of other SES'ers who have suffered a similar fate as Keegan's: Donna Seigel, Alan Frank, Karen Armes, Debbie Russell, Steffanie Hall, David Foster, Betsy Bake and the list goes on and on.

What makes SSA so different that so many SES folks get removed and demoted?

PLEASE have an open mind and think about it........

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:02: Noted! But keep in mind if the senior leaders that hired you provides top cover for Keegan and litigate to make legitimate allegations go away, Keegan can boast of no negative decisions were ever decided against him. Keegan is fully aware the agency provided top cover for him in numerous EO blunders yet he refused to change. As a result, his status and impact for liability was changed by the administration. Respect your position but he is receiving exactly what he shelled out to some deserving and many underserving public servants.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:33: Noted as well although I must say that you seem to place a lot of stock in conjecture and not in what the facts may be. Forget Keegan for a moment, what about the other SES examples I gave? There were some very fine folks in that list.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2:23 pm: Correction, no conjecture as my comments were noted/validated during review of allegations against Keegan. I agree with the other SESers noted are very fine as I worked with almost all of them but please don't put them in the category as Keegan as its not a close or fair comparison. However, your point is noted as to the very fine folks moved from their positions.

Anonymous said...

Michael Keegan was for a time the Associate Commissioner for Facilities Management at SSA. I was part of that component for several years, including very briefly at the start of Keegan's tenure. The AC level at SSA is four levels down in the organizational hierarchy at SSA and Keegan was one of about 30 or so individuals at his level.

At SSA the role of the AC for Facilities Management was traditionally that of operational maintenance. Facilities took care of all the day-to-day chores involved in running a large organization with over 2,000 physical sites. Janitorial services, the motor pool, supplies, repairs and maintenance, those sorts of things were the preview of the AC for Facilities. The AC was not a top-level policy maker in any sense. Decisions like whether or not to build a second data center would have been way above his pay grade.

Keegan--coming from the outside (Army)--did not understand the SSA culture and his place in it. Not really being in the loop on the decision about the data center apparently got his nose out of joint and he became a disgruntled mid-level executive who was too big for his britches. This led to his alienation from his superiors and his eventual downfall. Now--rather than see himself as a failure--he fancies himself a noble whistleblower telling the "truth" about a decision in which he played no real part.