One of the problems for the federal government is attracting the talent that they need to be effective in their mission, and keeping them there. The most recent report from the Department of the Interior inspector general demonstrated that in at least one case inspectors at the Minerals Management Service (MMS) used their federal employment as a stepping stone to advance their career (and salary) in the private sector. A POGO blog reader just pointed my attention to recently posted job listings for Offshore Operations and Safety Inspectors on USAJOBS. Looking at the starting salary and the job expectations—significant travel, frequent bending and stooping (hopefully not just to industry)—one can see how difficult it must be for MMS to retain well-qualified individuals. Is $38,790 going to be enough to attract inspectors to an agency with "ethical failure"?
The good news is that Interior is also asking for a new counselor to the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management (who currently oversees MMS, and would oversee leasing and safety and environmental inspections under the reorganization proposed by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar). That position starts at $123,758.
-- Mandy Smithberger
UPDATE: another POGO reader makes a good point in the comments section below.