cannabisnews.com: Auditors Critical of Drug Czar, Staff Turnover





Auditors Critical of Drug Czar, Staff Turnover
Posted by FoM on July 06, 2000 at 19:01:19 PT
Michael Doyle, Scripps-McClatchy Western Service
Source: RockyMountainNews
The hard-charging former general who's overseeing American anti-drug efforts is a relentless taskmaster whose overworked office has suffered disturbingly high turnover, auditors say in a sobering new report released Thursday.Drug czar Barry McCaffrey, whose responsibilities include a new multimillion-dollar campaign targeting the Central Valley's covert methamphetamine trade, comes under sustained fire in the highly detailed audit ordered by Congress. 
The criticism includes suggestions that McCaffrey's staff is stretched too thin to properly oversee programs like the one now underway in nine Central Valley counties."Conflicts, high stress levels and demanding conditions have yielded a difficult work environment," auditors with PriceWaterhouseCoopers noted. "The workload situation has become problematic, given the unfilled positions associated with recruitment and retention problems."While praising the drug office's "effective and results-oriented manner" in meeting external responsibilities, the auditors lambasted the office's internal operations. The auditors specifically cited the 68 percent staff turnover during McCaffrey's tenure and the challenges posed by rapid growth of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, or HIDTA. The Central Valley region from Sacramento County south to Kern County is now one of 31 regions nationwide identified for special funding and coordination assistance under the HIDTA program. Lawmakers like the program, and it's grown from five regions costing $25 million in 1990 to the 31 regions now costing about $192 million. However, while the number of HIDTA regions has doubled during McCaffrey's four years as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the program's budgets are still managed by only two financial officers."Thus, the workload has been handled through an increase in the 'operational tempo' of the organization in order to gain more results from existing resources," auditors stated.Auditors consider this particularly troublesome both because of the danger of oversight mistakes and because so many other staffers are devoted to supporting McCaffrey's intensive public outreach. A West Point graduate and commanding public speaker who retired as a four-star general, McCaffrey spends about one-quarter of his time giving various interviews, speeches and public appearances. Auditors estimated he makes some 386 public appearances a year - more than one a day. This has helped McCaffrey become the fourth-most-mentioned Cabinet officer in the news media - behind the heads of the departments of Defense, State and Justice. Auditors contend, though, that this also has sucked up so much staff time that "there has been an erosion in (the office's) ability to efficiently conduct its primary objectives."Bill Ruzzamenti, the Fresno-based director of the Central Valley HIDTA, acknowledged the drug office staff has seemed overworked and potentially subject to burnout, but he stressed that they are also highly capable."They are incredibly responsive," Ruzzamenti said. "They get back to you very quickly. They are overworked, but it has not in any way jeopardized their ability to do their job."McCaffrey's allies, moreover, note that intensive travel and public speaking are an integral part of his job's bully pulpit. Until McCaffrey assumed the drug czar's job, first established over President Reagan's objections in 1988, congressional Republicans had delighted in calling the Clinton administration "AWOL on drugs."McCaffrey will be making his first swing by the Central Valley HIDTA on July 15, when he'll meet with region law enforcement officers. The Valley's anti-meth effort is receiving $1.4 million this year through the drug office program; it's considered a big boost by Valley police, though it's only a small part of the federal government's $18 billion anti-drug program supervised by McCaffrey."General McCaffrey is a committed public servant who believes deeply in the mission and who gives his all, and he expects those around him to do the same," said former California Democratic Assemblyman Tom Umberg, who served about 30 months as McCaffrey's deputy.A highly decorated, thrice-wounded Vietnam veteran who later commanded the 24th Mechanized Infantry Division's sweep into the Euphrates Valley during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, McCaffrey most recently has been championing a newly approved $1.32 billion U.S. investment in fighting the Colombian cocaine trade. A big chunk of the money will pay for the Colombian army, which is fighting both drug dealers and insurgents, to buy U.S. helicopters.No stranger to conflict, including recent allegations published in the New Yorker magazine that his Gulf War troops were overly aggressive, McCaffrey had his staff counter the 55-page audit with their own 12-page response. "They kind of missed the boat in terms of understanding what happens here," drug office spokesman Bob Weiner said Thursday.The occasionally combative written response includes the complaint that auditors were "degrading the director's unquestioned personal commitment to his duties" by questioning his public speaking and need for support staff."When he is meeting, for instance, in ... Vallejo, California, supporting staff are engaged in ... promoting coalitions," wrote McCaffrey's chief of staff, Janet Crist.More generally, McCaffrey's staff cited alleged "errors of fact, serious omissions or contradictions" in the audit report. Congress ordered the audit last year after lawmakers said they were "dismayed" that McCaffrey kept asking for more workers despite the high attrition rate on his staff.Crist wrote that the drug office's turnover rate is "comparable to those of other agencies" within the White House, and further asserted that recruiting has been no problem because the office has filled "more than 100 new civilian and military positions since 1996."Still, various deputy director positions were left vacant for 112 out of 153 months studied by auditors. Moreover, auditors discovered there had been an overall 68 percent turnover on the civilian staff during McCaffrey's reign. Last year, for instance, five of the seven people working in McCaffrey's executive office left, while four of the seven public affairs staffers departed. Auditors attributed the turnover to McCaffrey's "leadership style" as well as the heavy workload.This could pose special problems next year, auditors warn, when a new president comes in and appoints a new director to head an office with little institutional memory."A military structure has been imposed on a previously civilian culture," auditors said. "As incompatibilities have developed, people have made the decision to leave."Michael Doyle is a Washington reporter for Scripps-McClatchy Western Service. Washington, D.C. Published: July 06, 2000  Copyright, Denver Publishing Co.Related Article & Web Site:PricewaterhouseCoopershttp://www.pwcglobal.com/ Report Targets Drug Office http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread6082.shtml CannabisNews McCaffrey Archives:http://cannabisnews.com/news/list/McCaffrey.shtml
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Comment #5 posted by zion on July 07, 2000 at 17:51:32 PT
One czar goes, another fills his place
It doesn't matter if the General gets booted out of the appointment, another "czar" will fill his place and probably be just as bad if not worse. And the General will follow in the footsteps of Bill Bennett (remember him, champion of cultural purity) just like kaptinemo suggests, working the lecture circuit and writing books.The problem's not with the drug czar or his office, the problem is with the spineless congressional representatives who are not defending their 'sacred honor' in the constitution, but instead bowing to the special interests from the police lobby - and boomer parents who don't want to expend the effort/responsibility to raise their children (instead whine to government to protect them from all risk in life).To quote Pogo: 'we have met the enemy, and he is us"
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Comment #4 posted by observer on July 07, 2000 at 10:37:19 PT
Minister of State Propaganda
"... because so many other staffers are devoted to supporting McCaffrey's intensive public outreach. A West Point graduate and commanding public speaker who retired as a four-star general, McCaffrey spends about one-quarter of his time giving various interviews, speeches and public appearances. Auditors estimated he makes some 386 public appearances a year - more than one a day. This has helped McCaffrey become the fourth-most-mentioned Cabinet officer in the news media - behind the heads of the departments of Defense, State and Justice....''Which goes to underscore: Drug Prohibition really is the Official State Ideology, subordinating all else: truth, justice, the Bill of Rights, you name it, to this Statist Jihad. Facts are absolutely irrelevant to this crew. 
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Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on July 07, 2000 at 04:41:50 PT:
Barry the Brown-Nosed
Friends, I have bad news for you; come January, we will NOT see the last of Barry. Here's why:'This has helped McCaffrey become the fourth-most-mentioned Cabinet officer in the news media - behind the heads of the departments of Defense, State and Justice.'I worked around the Feds for years. There are tell-tale signs when a 'public service' figure is about to break out of the relatively(!) low paying world of a an ES-whatever (which is really good money, folks) into the big time of corporate ladder climbing. This statement is the kind of thing written when someone is about to do that. This is that 'revolving door' that so many people have a legitimate beef with: people from regulatory agencies leaving and going to work for the industries they regulated. And then a few years later, going back to work in the same regulatory body meant to watchdog the industry they just 'left'.Children, can you say, "Conflict of interest"? Barry has been feathering his nest and preparing to make the jump - to one of those corporately-funded think-tanks where the US Guv goes to buy it's next policies. Never mind the fact that 7 out of 10 people have left the organization since he arrived; he 'got results' and that's all that mattered. It is just another indicator of how ruthless the man is.
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Comment #2 posted by fivepounder on July 06, 2000 at 20:21:08 PT
bye bye barry
His days are numbered. I can't wait to say goodbye to his pigness. May his karma catch up with him. 
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Comment #1 posted by dddd on July 06, 2000 at 19:44:49 PT
My view
What ya got here,is a borderline pschycotic general,who has way too much money,and has created"problem" zones through-out the country. All of a sudden,people who were flippin' burgers,and baggin' grocerties a week ago,are drivin' around in unmarked cars,with guns. It's no surprize they are having trouble finding,and keeping employees.I think when people realize that they have been hired to be neo-natzi turncoats,on their fellow citizens,,,,They go back to flippin' burgers,and mowing lawns....dddd
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