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Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

Rep. Ross: I'm Not an Idiot

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Phil Coale/AP file photo

Do you get the feeling politicians aren't paying attention to what federal employees have to say about how things are being run in Washington? You may be wrong.

Earlier this week, I posted an item about a career Foreign Service officer named Jason Ullner who wrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Post defending public servants against those who he said were unfairly attacking them. My colleague Charlie Clark then elicited a response from Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., who has called for legislation to trim federal employee benefits and cut the size of the workforce.

"There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that many federal employees work long hours, are dedicated public servants and perform their jobs at the highest level," Ross said. "There is also no doubt that the taxpayer can no longer afford defined benefit pension plans, guaranteed raises, a $450 billion payroll, and a federal workforce that is out of sync in both mission and size."

Several people who commented on the story didn't take kindly to Ross's remarks, and one went so far as to say he was "either an idiot or a zealot who is so intent on driving home his message that he pushes misleading data while ignoring any balanced analysis of the facts."

Ross himself then took to the comments to defend himself and his positions. "I am neither an idiot nor am I a zealot," he declared, then offered a point-by-point rebuttal to various commenters. He ended with this:

I do hope you realize that we read these articles and comments and I think some of the comments are indicative of the rhetoric we run into from many of your union bosses and it is doing you, as the hard working federal worker, no good.

Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

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