A List of Techniques from the ‘Malek Manual’

The following text was copied from pages 72-78 of The Malek Manual.
Emphasis has been added to this version.

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The Civil Service system creates many hardships in trying to remove undesirable employees from their positions. Because of the rape of the career service by the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, as described in the Introduction, this Administration has been left a legacy of finding disloyalty and obstruction at high levels while those incumbents rest comfortably on career civil service status. Political disloyalty and insimpatico relationships with the Administration, unfortunately, are not grounds for the removal or suspension of an employee. Career employees, as discussed in Chapter 2, can only be dismissed or otherwise punished for direct disobedience of lawful orders, actions which are tantamount to the commission of a crime, and well documented and provable incompetence (see FPM Section 752). Even if you follow the time-consuming process of documenting a case to proceed with an adverse action, the administrative and legal process is slow and lengthy and great damage can accrue to the Department prior to your successful conclusion of your case. However, there are several techniques which can be designed, carefully, to skirt around the adverse action proceedings.One must always bear in mind the following rules. The reduction of a person to a position of lower status and/or grade is considered an adverse action which necessitates formal proceedings. Secondly, an administrative or management decision cannot be based on the political background or persuasion of an individual, his race, sex, religion or national origin.

a. Individual Technique (a-1): Frontal Assault

You simply call an individual in and tell him he is no longer wanted, that you’ll assist him in finding another job and will keep him around until such time as he finds other employment. But you do expect him to immediately relinquish his duties, accept reassignment to a makeshift position at his current grade and then quietly resign for the good of the service. Of course, you promise him that he will leave withJust a straight-forward verbal attack … and be sure there are no witnesses. honor and with the finest recommendations, a farewell luncheon, and perhaps even a Departmental award. You, naturally, point out that should he not accept such an offer, and he later is forced to resign or retire through regular process or his own volition, that his employment references from the Department and his permanent personnel record may not look the same as if he accepted your offer. There should be no witnesses in the room at the time. Caution: This technique should only be used for the timid at heart with a giant ego. This is an extremely dangerous technique and the very fact of your conversation can be used against the Department in any subsequent adverse action proceedings. It should never be used with that fervent, zealous employee committed to Democratic policies and programs, or to the bureaucracy, who might relish the opportunity to be martyred on the cross of his cause.

a. Individual Technique (a-2): Transfer Technique

By carefully researching the background of the proposed employee-victim, one can always establish that geographical part of the country and/or organizational unit to which the employee would rather resign than obey and accept transfer orders. For example, if you have an employee in your Boston Regional Office, and his record shows reluctance to move far from that location (he may have family and financialTransfer him to a location you know he cannot accept. Goodbye. commitments not easily severed), a transfer accompanied by a promotion to an existing or newly created position in Dallas, Texas might just fill the bill. It is always suggested that a transfer be accompanied with a promotion, if possible. Since a promotion is per se beneficial to the employee, it immediately forecloses any claim that the transfer is an adverse action. It also reduces the possibility of a claim that the transfer was motivated for prohibited purposes since, again, the transfer resulted in a beneficial action for the employee and the word discrimination implies some adversity to have been suffered. It is also important that you carefully check your organizational charts to insure that not only is there no reduction in grade, but no reduction in status. For instance, if a person is a Deputy Regional Director at GS 14, the promotion to a position of State Director in another region (who reports to a Deputy Regional Director) even at a grade increase to GS 15 will be a demotion in status and thus an adverse action. Transfers must also be presented as necessary for “the efficiency of the service.” It is, therefore, necessary that the position to which the person is being transferred fits in with his current job experience or his past responsibilities. The technical assistance of your personnel office is indispensable in prosecuting such transfers. But there is no reason why they cannot artfully find, or create, the necessary position that will satisfy the transfer requirements necessary to cause the prospective transferee to be confronted with the choice of being transferred to a position he does not want or resigning. Of course, one can sweeten the potion by privately assuring the proposed transferee, upon delivery of his transfer notification, that should he refuse the transfer, and resign, that his resignation will be accepted without prejudice. Further, he may remain for a period until he finds other employment and leave with the highest honors and references.

a. Individual Technique (a-3): Special Assistant Technique (The Traveling Salesman)

This technique is especially useful for the family man and those who do not enjoy traveling. What you do is to suddenly recognize the outstanding abilities of your employee-victim and immediately seize upon his competence and talent to assign him to a special research and evaluation project. This is best explained by way of example. Let us assume that our employee is a program analyst with the Department ofMake a good family man travel, and he may just quit on his own Transportation. You immediately discover the high level interest and policy requirements for creating a program to meet the transportation needs of all U.S. cities and towns with a population of 20,000 and under. Nothing is more revealing than first hand inspections and consultation with town officials. And so you hand your chosen expert a promotion and his new assignment. (Again, a promotion is desirable to diminish any possible claim of adversity.) Along with his promotion and assignment your expert is given extensive travel orders crisscrossing him across the country to towns (hopefully with the worst accommodations possible) of a population of 20,000 or under. Until his wife threatens him with divorce unless he quits, you have him out of town and out of the way [emphasis added]. When he finally asks for relief you tearfully reiterate the importance of the project and state that he must continue to obey travel orders or resign. Failure to obey travel orders is a grounds for immediate separation [emphasis added].

b. The Layering Technique

The layering technique, as it full name implies, is an organizational technique to “layer” over insubordinate subordinates, managers who are loyal and faithful. This technique, however, requires at least the temporary need for additional slots and may, in some cases, require supergrade authorities. Again, the best way to explain the layering technique is to depict its application in an example.

Let us assume you have two branches whose chiefs are GS 14s and report directly to your deputy, who is a GS 15, who in turn reports to you (you are a GS 16). The object is to remove from critical responsibilities your deputy and the two GS 14 branch chiefs. All three positions you find were cosily frozen into the career service when you assumed your noncareer office head post. A slot saving can beExpend more resources to add another organizational layer, with loyals over the disloyals realized if you have any vacancies within your office no matter what type of job they were previously utilized for, such as secretarial vacancies. (Remember your ceiling does not address itself to how you are going to use your positions. Don’t ever let the bureaucrats tell you it is automatically a such-and-such slot. By budget adjustment you can use existing vacancies to create any new positions and functions you desire.) Utilizing vacant positions, or new positions, and acquiring the appropriate budget adjustment, you get your position upgraded to a GS 17 NEA. You can create a new position of Deputy Office Director, at a noncareer GS 16. Because that position is noncareer, your former deputy has no rights to it. (Note of caution: The question may be asked why you simply don’t convert those positions from career to noncareer and then fire the incumbents. The Civil Service rules and regulations contain a “grandfather clause” which provides that if a position which is filled by a career incumbent is converted from career to noncareer, the incumbent still maintains his career status in the job. Operationally, therefore, the position does not become noncareer until the career incumbent vacates that position. If you convert it to noncareer before he vacates the position, you run the risk that if you take some administrative action to transfer him out of the position later he can claim political discrimination pointing to the very .fact that you converted his position to excepted status as evidence.)

To make sure that the reorganization does not result in a reduction of status for your former deputy, you appoint him as a GS 15 Special Assistant to yourself so that he retains both his grade and his direct reporting relationship. You then create two Staff Assistant positions for your Branch Chiefs reporting to your new Special Assistant. They also retain their GS 14 grades. You upgrade the Branch Chief positions to GS 15 and create two Deputy Branch Chief positions at GS 14. To your new deputy position, the two upgraded branch chief positions and the two new deputy branch chief positions you then effect the appointment of persons of unquestioned loyalty. You have thus layered into the organization into key positions your own people, still isolating your roadblocks into powerless makeshift positions. In all likelihood the three will probably end up resigning out of disgust and boredom. You can then return the three slots from wherever you borrowed them. If this does not occur, you can have a reduction in force which will cause certain job abolitions and thus the elimination of selected employees.

As mentioned in the Introduction, this layering technique followed by a reduction in force, after a respectable waiting period, was the technique used extensively by London Johnson’s Administration. A variation of the layering technique is called the Bypass Layering Technique which may be utilized in the event the two GS 14 branch chiefs should be eligible for promotion and placement in the upgraded GS 15 branch chief positions. That will frequently be the case, especially if those upgraded branch chief positions cannot be made noncareer. In that case the scenario for the creation of a new upgraded deputy to yourself remains the same. Your former deputy is likewise made a Special Assistant to yourself at GS 15 having no rights to the noncareer GS 16 position. The two GS 14 branch chiefs are promoted to GS 15 making way for the creation of two deputy branch chief positions at GS 14. You then layer in your own people to the deputy branch chief positions. From then on all business is conducted between the deputy branch chiefs, your deputy and yourself. You rudely bypass your branch chiefs on all office matters. You also totally ignore your special assistant. If all three don’t at least quit in disgust, at least you have removed them from the mainstream of office operations.

c. Shifting Responsibilities and Isolation Techniques

This is a classic organizational technique first introduced by Franklin D. Roosevelt. It does involve a sizable investment of budget and slots. Its purpose is to isolate and bypass an entire organization while(sic) is so hopeless that there is an immediate desire to deal with nobody in the organization atCreate a parallel organization, rendering the duties of the undesirable meaningless all. The shifting responsibilities and isolation technique entails the setting up of a parallel organization to one already in existence, and giving that new organization most of the real authorities previously vested in the old organization it parallels. The alphabet agencies created by FDR to usurp existing functions of existing departments and to assume new functions that ordinarily would have gone to those existing departments is an example of the wholesale uses of the shifting functions technique.

Let’s use another example. Perhaps you’re unhappy with your whole budget office. You inform the budget office that the tail will no longer wag the dog. From now on they will exercise what are supposed to be the functions of the budget office which are the technical accounting procedures and documenting procedures necessary for promulgating a budget. You create a new Office of Financial Policy Review which will have the responsibility for examining the proposed budgets of the component parts of your organization and then recommend the “policy decisions” necessary to put together your organization’s budget. Because of the policy content, the positions in the new office will be largely noncareer and thus unavailable as a matter of right to those bureaucrats in your existing budget office. You then impose unbearable ceilings on your budget office specifically in the area of accounting. This renders that budget office increasingly incapable of producing adequate accounting data to the new Financial Policy Review Office. As a result, the Financial Policy Review Office must of a necessity create its own accounting area (hopefully from slots you have squeezed out of the budget office. Note: It is important that you do not create career positions in the new office comparable to those in the old budget office at the same time you reduce the personnel ceilings in the old budget office creating a RIF. Whereas the civil service rules do not allow careerists being RIF’d to exercise claims to like positions in the noncareer service, they do grant careerists the right to claim placement into like career positions that are created.) Slowly but surely the new Financial Policy Review Office accrues all of the meaningful functions of the budget office isolating those bureaucrats who have not quit in disgust into meaningless technical positions out of the mainstream of the Department’s operations.

d. New Activity Technique

Another organizational technique for the wholesale isolation and disposition of undesirable employee-victims is the creation of an apparently meaningful, but essentially meaningless, new activity to which they are all transferred. This technique, unlike the shifting responsibilities and isolation technique designed to immobilize a group of people in a single organizational entity, is designed to provide a single barrel into which you can dump a large number of widely located bad apples.

Again let us use an example to illustrate this technique. Let us apply this to the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. A startling new thrust to HEW’S participation in the Model Cities Program mightJust transfer the undesirables into meaningless positions … perhaps a small room with no phone, no books, like a cell be a new research and development Model Cities Laboratory. With the concurrence of the Governor of Alabama, one might choose Alabama, or a region thereof, to be a “model state” or “model region” like we now have sections of cities designated as, “model cities.” For office facilities the Department of the Army might be prevailed upon to provide surplus buildings at Fort Rucker, Alabama. The Alabama State Department of Education, would, I am sure, be more than happy to provide school buses to bus HEW employees between their offices and the nearest town where they would live. Naturally, to such a high priority and high visibility project as a “model state” lab you would want to assign some of the most “qualified” employees and administrators you could find throughout the Department, both in Washington and in the field. By carefully looking at the personnel jackets of your selected employee-victims, you can easily design an organization chart for the project that would create positions to which these employee-victims can be transferred that meet the necessary job description requirements, offer promotional opportunities in grade, and by having the project report directly into the Secretary’s office provide for promotions in status.