Saturday, August 02, 2008
Booking a Trip
You may remember that, in 2006, the Bush Administration, over the objections of the representatives of 10,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency scientists, closed the agency's network of technical research libraries. Only the terminally naive would believe this was a cost-cutting move as the administration claimed. The "savings" of $2 million (out of a total budget of nearly $8 billion) was more than offset by the estimated 214,000 additional hours in professional staff time, worth some $7.5 million annually, that would be required for the agency's employees to get the information needed to do their jobs. The main effect would be to limit access by the general public to the information. As Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility pointed out, "it was politically easier to close the libraries than to burn the books."
After the Government Accountability Office, Congress and the public took the administration to task, Congress ordered the reopening of the libraries and a federal arbitrator found that the EPA was guilty of unfair labor practices and acting in bad faith in the closures, the EPA has signed a memorandum of agreement establishing procedures for the reopening of the libraries that include the American Federation of Government Employees as a negotiating participant in any future changes to EPA library network operations.
You see, the Bush administration can be responsive ... if you'd got a big enough stick.
Now if they'd all just end up in jail where they belong...