The last time we checked in with those selfless patriots in the Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) — who could be making millions in the private sector, but have instead devoted their life to public service — management was desperately trying to protect a "telework" program gullible reporters hailed as “[A] perfect picture of telework success.”
Once a government agency receives an award for a program, it becomes expensive for taxpayers. An award–winning program is immune to internal criticism and is used to bolster agency supervisors’ case for an annual bonus.
The last time the telework program was investigated internally the USPTO scrubbed the negative findings before releasing the report. Complete details are in an earlier column found here.
Now, after an eight–month study, the National Academy of Public Administration found unsurprisingly that nothing has changed.
As The Washington Post succinctly put it, a review of the “award-winning telework program found a patent system that stresses ‘quantitative production over quality’ and questions whether examiners are working hard enough . . . managers still have limited power to monitor when and how much employees are working. And right now, a supervisor has no authority to require that a poor performer who works at home be brought back to headquarters to be monitored more closely.”
This means USPTO supervision is even more lax than that given to visa holders, a program notorious for somnolence and a contributor to 9/11.
The Post found one employee collecting 18 weeks of pay for work he didn’t do while hitting a few buckets at the local driving range or drinking beer. The projects he did get around to completing were termed “garbage” by an outraged fellow employee.
In his defense, the linksman’s supervisor — another teleworking demon — was unable to discover Arnold Palmer’s absence because the supervisor wasn’t in the office much himself. He couldn’t check at home either because one of the kids misplaced the planchette, so the Ouija board was useless.
In his defense, the supervisor said that sometimes he would wander by the examiner’s office and “there would be a light on,” which was good enough for him. Investigators not baffled by the common light bulb found the fraudster was paid $25,500 in 2014 for 730 hours he didn’t work, but in the end, even they dropped the ball. The Post found " . . . they said the actual number is almost certainly higher. They acknowledged that they gave the employee “the benefit of the doubt . . . and likely gave him credit for many hours that he did not work.”
Now we know how the Iran nuke agreement was negotiated. Only in the federal government can a serial liar be given the “benefit of the doubt.”
The report’s deadpan description of incredible incompetence reads like a Bob and Ray script. The Post’s earlier story found extensive lying by the “Teletubbie” crew regarding the number of hours worked. So now officials “[make] it harder for examiners to get credit for work they have not submitted and [require] examiners to use an electronic device to indicate when they’re at their computers. But the device is only required for some employees.”
But what sort of device is it?
With all the trouble the federal government has with employees and pornography a taxpayer must wonder. Is the device an ankle monitor? Shock collar? Oxycontin drip?
Another feature of USTPO management is: “Examiners only have to notify their supervisors of how many hours they plan to work, not the actual hours they will be at work.”
This indicates communist penetration of the government is even more extensive than Joe McCarthy feared. That’s exactly the way Stalin’s Five–Year Plan worked without the OGPU and mass starvation.
Think of all the statistically thin people Mississippi would have if dieters only had to report the amount of weight they plan to lose rather than how much actually lost. We’d be a nation of supermodels!
The really scary part was investigators could not find a difference in the quality or quantity of patent reviews between those Amazon.com super shoppers and the employees physically.
This is not even damning with faint praise.
The good news for the USPTO is the bonus protection squad is fully mobilized and claims “they’ve made efforts to address abuse, including mandatory training classes on time and attendance."
The maddening part of this whole squalid affair the USPTO is a legitimate function of government. The protection of intellectual property is just as important as the protection of tangible property.
Conservatives know it’s the foundation of a free society. The USPTO would exist even under the bleak and penniless rule of President Ted Cruz; it just wouldn't be run by this set of incompetents.
Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher (for the League of American Voters), and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)." Read more of Michael Shannon's reports — Go Here Now.
© Copyright 2015 Michael Shannon.