OPM Disability Retirement: Elevation of the Federal Consumer Product Compliance Directorate (FCPCD) to a Cabinet-level status

It first came to light in August, 1974, just prior to Nixon’s resignation from Office.  A young reporter by the name of Dan Druthers asked the President:  “Have you considered the exponential factor of time wasted in consumer affairs concerning crushed toilet paper rolls during transport and delivery?  What has your Administration done about it?  The American People demand an answer!”  The White House Press Corps was aghast.  No other journalist had had the temerity to heretofore question the Presidency with such forcefulness.  The President, of course, was stumped, and shot back, “Mr. Druthers, what do you think you are running for?”  To which Mr. Druthers shot equally back, “Well, I’m not sure.  What are you running from, Mr. President?”

The rest is history, as they say.  From there, that journalist of slight anonymity and notoriety went on to become the anchor of Prime Time T.V.; the President resigned (what many people fail to understand is that Watergate had little to do with moral turpitude, and much to do with messy toiletry); the 18-minute gap in the secret White House Tapes, people suspected, had to do with deleted expletives concerning Toiletgate; and as for the greater issue of crushed toilet paper rolls — well, it took a few more years hence before the political fallout would take its toll.

First, there were whispers of grumblings, of esoteric nuances which could only be fully understood in Senate closed door hearings where titular heads of states whispered in royal functions.  How many people spend time in straightening out a roll of toilet paper, such that it rolls smoothly on a roller?  If, as a conservative estimate, 30 seconds are spent for each crushed roll of toilet paper, multiplied by the total number of people inhabiting the United States, how much of an economic impact would that have on an annual basis?  How much time would be saved if such crushing of toiletries could be prevented, reverberated a thousandfold — nay, ten thousand fold — by mere and simple preventative measures?

The question itself failed to take hold upon the American imagination, until some years later, at a Town Hall Meeting, a woman asked a Congressional Candidate a similar query, in a rather accusatory tone of voice:  “Do you not care at all?”  That got the goat of the candidate, as they say in proverbial parlance.  There were subsequent cries for immediate passage of legislation.  Republicans wanted a budgetary offset for any monies expended for the creation of a new agency, the Federal Consumer Product Compliance Directorate (FCPCD). Some questioned the need for the new agency, and whether it couldn’t just be handled by the EPA; but such queries were quickly quelled when the Senate Majority Leader declared:  “The issue itself is too important to ignore.”

In the end, the FCPCD was created by Executive Order.  Some years later, because of the very importance attached to such preventative measures — “experts” referred to the greater impact upon global warming, and some at the NSC declared that it was a matter of “national security” — the FCPCD was elevated to a Cabinet Level Department post haste, in order to ensure that the President was daily informed as to the importance of the issue and so the American People would not be ignored. The staff at the FCPCD grew from 2 in 1984 (comprised of the Executive Director and the secretary), to over 5,000 today and currently growing (you know, inspectors, analysts, policy experts, etc.).

Meanwhile, those Federal and Postal workers who had filed for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, continue to wait for their Federal Disability Retirement applications to be decided upon.  The fact that OPM is understaffed and overworked has not been brought to light, yet.  Of course, OPM does not have the ear of the President, and the issue was never queried by the likes of a crack reporter back in the days when reporting was actually occurring.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employees Disability Retirement Systems (FERS/CSRS): Of the parsimonious panderer

Somehow, merely doing your work just isn’t good enough; allies must be accumulated; alliances must be forged; outsiders, enemies and loners must be harassed, intimidated and crucified; suspicion is always cast upon the forces of neutrality, and homage paid is the quid pro quo of worldly advantage.

We tend to think that the manner in which prison systems naturally tend towards animalistic behavior of fiefdoms, savagery and community of gangs merely reflects a sociological consequence of a passing academic interest, without recognizing that the same applies in our daily lives.  One cannot merely go to work, do an excellent job and mind one’s own business; there are always dark forces beyond, awaiting and lurking, conniving to entrap and ensnare.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who begins to suffer from a medical condition, such that the Federal or Postal employee must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the magnification and exponential pressure of prior failures in becoming “one of us” begins to manifest itself in so many ways.

For the Federal or Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition where the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the U.S. Postal Service or the Federal agency, two problems begin to surface:  First, dealing with the medical condition itself; and Second, dealing with management, supervisors, and even fellow coworkers.

It is an unfortunate truism that pandering not only works, but works too well; and if, in the course of one’s career, one has been parsimonious in the arena of pandering to others, the price to be paid is often the harshness of refusing to join and pay the membership of the panderer’s club.

But, then, the price for possessing integrity has always been the wounded pride of the lying predator, and when the parsimonious panderer awakens the abyss of human conscience by having a need for sympathy or empathy, the herd mentality of the world around will surely respond in ways predictable, by devouring the likes of a wounded prey such as the Federal or Postal employee who needs to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Of poets and prophets

The definitional distinction between the two is fairly self-evident; it is in the interplay of what they do, how they go about it, and the content of their substantive utterances which blur the lines of differences.  And we all have to play both roles in life; of the poet, to speak a reflective voice of a world which can never be captured in its true essence; and in prophetic manner, in maneuvering through a complex universe fraught with dangers of unknown origins, encounters with malicious foes and devious evildoers; and it is with the combination of consolidating the advantages derived from either arenas by which we are able to survive.

Plato’s view of the former, though somewhat inconsistent (he simultaneously criticizes them, but will quote extensively from them in the same paragraph), is devastating because of their concealment of the true forms of entities; the Good Book, of course, is replete with the latter, with conjugations of the major and minor ones in placements of prominence or insignificance depending upon their current relevance and attributable validation.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, embracing the roles of both concurrently becomes a necessity of life’s many features of conundrums, castaways and coercive calamities of creative chaos.

The fact is, most Federal and Postal employees never see themselves as either; yet, throughout life, you have always been both. As a poet, you have had to comprehend and convey an understanding of the world around in terms which utilize analogy, metaphor and imitative language; and as a prophet, you have had to plan for an uncertain future based upon an uninviting present, with little or no basis from past experiences.

Now, with a medical condition which prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, it is incumbent upon the Federal and Postal employee to consolidate those very talents previously utilized, but within a spectrum of unknowing wariness, and to perfect the venue for the future.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is neither a science, nor a purely legal endeavor.  Many have tried to prepare an effective OPM Disability Retirement application, submitted it, and have had it denied, and perhaps even a second time with the same result; then, to turn to a craftsman for expert assistance.

There are both prophetic and poetic components which must be encompassed.  For example, creating the nexus between one’s medical condition and the positional duties one must perform constitutes the use of descriptive analogies which must be given the living force of vibrancy, where pain and incapacity must jump from the stoic pages upon which they are written (the poetic); while legal criteria must be straightforwardly addressed, such as the need to prove that one’s medical condition will exist for a minimum of 12 months (the prophetic aspect).

All in all, the corollary and convex/concave aspect of preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to OPM, must be carefully assembled.  It is, in the end, of poets and prophets for which we speak, and the innate need to bring out those characteristics from within; we all possess such inherent capabilities; we just didn’t know it.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire