Ethics requires the containment and delineation of certain parameters of behavior. The single intervening cause which provides for an exception to such constraints of behavior — as a practical matter — is the accumulation of power. Power serves as an aphrodisiac which propels one to override any knowledge or sense of what it means to “behave properly”.
Just observe the behavior of those who are considered part of the “glamour” set — movie stars, politicians, wealthy entrepreneurs, etc.: the common thread is that, because one acquires and retains money and fame (and therefore power), one need not be constrained within the parameters of ethics. Just as individuals may act in certain ways, so agencies and conglomerations of individuals will act in a macro-reflection of how singular persons will act.
Thus, when a Federal or Postal employee begins the process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, wisdom should guide the Federal and Postal employee to expect his or her agency to act in ways contrary to ethical behavior — if not outright violating any rules of ethics, at a minimum, to act in a harassing and mean-spirited manner.
Power brings out the worst in individuals, and in agencies; and when the “weakling” shows his or her vulnerabilities, the claws and fangs manifest themselves in the most ferocious of manners. Ethics is for the protection of weaklings, and for manipulation by the powerful. That is why it is often a necessity to seek the counsel and guidance of an attorney to countermand the actions of those who deem themselves to be powerful — by leveling the playing field. Now, as to the power of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management… that is a different story altogether.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire
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