Reader response to Dear Bureaucrat, My Job Wants Me to Lie

One note – it’s amazing how hard it is to change a requirement. 
I worked at an agency that was offered a contract that included the requirement that a certain form had to be filled out by all new hires within some period of time. The program and form had long been cancelled (years before). No problem I thought, I’ll have them remove requirement. Contract analyst said they couldn’t remove it, as it was part of the standard template. Escalated to City Attorney office – same response from staff. Escalated to an actual Deputy City Atty. After back and forth, told that it was a requirement and they could do nothing about it. So agency had a choice, sign an agreement agreeing that they would do something they knew they couldn’t do or stand on principal and turn down the funding (with related job losses). 
They signed and certified that every staff would be required to complete the form upon being hired. 
I and I’m sure many others could go on for days with these stories. 

name withheld

Author: David S. Reed

David S. Reed is a public administration expert, founder of Center for Public Administrators, and author of the Dear Bureaucrat advice column in Federal Times.

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