"Wasted Year," (March 1) was very insightful regarding the political-hack-ridden Homeland Security Department. The article also could have been titled "Wasted Year, Wasted Millions." While in-house arguing drags on about who does what, when and where, nothing gets accomplished. Hurricane Katrina is only the tip of the iceberg regarding incompetence. If a nuclear, biological or chemical event should occur, panic and chaos will ensue because of the total failure of this nonfunctional agency.
The American taxpayer has spent millions, if not billions, of dollars in anticipation of such events, and when it occurs the agency falls on its face. One individual is a scapegoat for the agency's failure, when all management should have been replaced. Katrina has shown that the American citizen can no longer rely on federal, state or local government. Homeland Security is a total disgrace and should be summarily disestablished.William G. Mahar
Forget About Firing
The best advice I ever received was that it is a supervisor's job to improve the employee's performance to at least the fully successful level; firing people is human resources' job ("You're Fired," March 1).
Over the years, I counseled my subordinate supervisors never to think about firing people, and instead to improve their performance and document their efforts toward improvement. As your article notes, sometimes this effort works and the employee's performance improves. Yes, documenting improvement efforts is difficult and takes time. If supervisors are not proficient at helping employees improve performance, then they are not doing their jobs. If they are proficient and they document their efforts, HR will have the documentation it needs to deal effectively with those employees who cannot or will not improve performance.
Also, you cannot overemphasize the need to get buy-in from your management chain on your performance improvement efforts. Somewhere along the way, they might need to stand tough, and it's important to know that they will.Thad Juszczak
Say a Little Prayer
I actually felt pride and patriotism while reading Timothy B. Clark's "Renewing the Faith" (March 1). His article named many strong, successful and talented Americans who donate a part of their lives to serve all of us.
We are a very fortunate nation. God has shined his grace on us. I say thank you, first to God and then to all those individuals who toil each day to improve our lot.
I pray that partisan attacks do not keep good people from applying and that these attacks stop, for they serve no good purpose.Thomas A. Britt
Internal Revenue Service