This post singles out the US Secret Service, but only as an example; the practice here is all too typical.
“Moving swiftly, the Secret Service forced out three agents Wednesday in a prostitution scandal that has embarrassed President Obama,” writes somebody named “FoxNews.com.” This person goes on, citing someone else named “the agency:”
One supervisor was allowed to retire, and another faces termination proceedings. The third, a non-supervisory employee, resigned, the agency said.
On Friday, three more resigned. Aside from the snark about anonymous writers and anonymous sources, what is it that we have here? We have people being forced from their jobs (I’ll come back to that “forcing” in a bit), but we’re given no evidence to support any legitimacy of this forcing. True enough, there are all of those news reports of asserted wrong-doing, prostitutes, the possible involvement of child prostitutes (cynically, only a lately charge), but what have these three actually done? What evidence was presented during their employer’s process for assessing “grounds for termination?” What was the outcome of those assessments? We don’t get to know. “The Secret Service forced out three agents” is all we get.
Now, about that forcing out. What force-out, exactly? One is being fired; that fits the claim. But a second retired, presumably with all honors and benefits, and four more simply resigned. These five didn’t lose their jobs; their jobs weren’t taken away from them. They chose to leave for other opportunities. Judge Jed Rakoff might have a few words about such a sham. Oh, wait, he did, in a similar matter from a different venue:
…judgment that does not involve any admissions and that results from only very modest penalties is just as frequently viewed, particularly in the business community, as a cost of doing business….
If the allegations of the Complaint are true, this is a very good deal for [departees]; and, even if they are untrue, it is a mild and modest cost of doing business….
If they didn’t do anything (see above) why did they retire/resign (stipulating pressure to do so)? If they did do something, where’s the accountability in what is, despite any pressure, a purely voluntary retirement and resignation. The latter even get to claim unemployment benefits while they go and “try out” another job.
“FoxNews.com” went on:
[O]ne federal law enforcement official said the number of firings would be between two and “a handful.
To which I ask, will these represent the sum total of the actual miscreants? And, how many others will be forced outallowed to walk because it’s inconvenient to go to the effort of proving the case; how many others will be allowed to walkforced out denying them their opportunity to require their employer to make its case?
Sometimes doing what’s right is hard. But “hard” means “possible.” Look it up.