Aug 30, 2012

Why Do All Those OIG Employees Need Firearms Training?

     The recent blowup about Social Security's purchases of ammunition may hint at a bigger issue. My understanding is that federal law enforcement officers are eligible for full retirement under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) after 20 years of service if they are 50 or older or after 25 years of service at any age. For non-law enforcement federal employees, it's more complicated but certainly more demanding. Is the real issue here whether Social Security's Office of Inspector General (OIG) is classifying far too many of its employees as law enforcement officers requiring that they qualify on the shooting range requiring the purchase of lots of ammunition? Ammunition isn't cheap but early retirement for lots of employees who jobs don't remotely compare to those of front line police officers is far more expensive.
     This goes well beyond the OIG at Social Security. Dozens of federal agencies have employees that they characterize as being in law enforcement, including:
  • Office of Export Enforcement at the Department of Commerce
  • OIG at the Department of Education
  • OIG at the Department of the Interior
  • OIG at the Department of State
  • OIG at the Department of Veterans Affairs
  • OIG at the Environmental Protection Administration
  • OIG at the NASA
  • OIG at the Office of Personnel Management
  • OIG at the Small Business Administration
  • OIG at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
  • OIG at Amtrak
  • OIG at the Tennessee Valley Authority
  • OIG at the Agency for International Development
     I don't think you have to be in the black helicopter fringe to find guns and weapons training at all these governmental agencies a bit unsettling but the bigger issue may be giving special retirement advantages to employees whose jobs have the same occupational risks as benefits authorizers and claims representatives at Social Security, mainly carpal tunnel syndrome.

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