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Chambers was a part of the problem

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I’ve worked in government for 20 years, and I am aghast at your notion that a manager or department head has some kind of First Amendment right to trash her bosses in public (HCN, 8/16/04: National parks pinching pennies). Teresa Chambers had every right to go to the Washington Post and lobby for a different budget decision — but not to do so and retain her position as a manager within the administration. Those kind of disagreements are supposed to be hashed out within the organization — with her ultimate expression of disagreement being to resign.

Don’t get me wrong — I think we need to put more money into our parks and the parks police, but decisions about how to allocate resources get made every day in government, and not every decision is the one I would make. There is no end to government programs that are worthy of more funding — but there is a decided unwillingness on the part of the tax-paying public to increase their taxes for all those worthy programs. You simply can’t say "Yes" to everything. This isn’t a whistleblower at work here; it’s simply a woman who didn’t like the management decisions being made — and she was part of management. She should have resigned, not gone public with her disagreement. She wasn’t simply, as the union rep declared, an "employee who deviated from the company line" — she was part of the company line.

R. Barry Crook
Austin, Texas

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