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Fright Night and Federal Dignity

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May be just a lawyer trolling for clients, but Washington attorney John Mahoney chose Halloween to put out a warning to federal employees who might be tempted to overdrink or wear costumes that are in poor taste in this age of instant postings on Facebook.

"Federal employees must be especially careful because they can be and most often times are charged with conduct unbecoming of a federal employee," Mahoney writes in press release. "The charge is very broad and supervisors love to use it because it's easy to prove."

While termination is the extreme case of an innocent Halloween party gone bad, he adds, "another real possibility is that you wouldn't be viewed as a serious contender for advancement."

Perhaps the message is: Always choose a Halloween costume that makes you look like a serious contender for advancement.

Charlie Clark joined Government Executive in the fall of 2009. He has been on staff at The Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly, National Journal, Time-Life Books, Tax Analysts, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and the National Center on Education and the Economy. He has written or edited online news, daily news stories, long features, wire copy, magazines, books and organizational media strategies.

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