Halt discussion of HUD's core values, since the M/F Reorg blatantly violates all of them
If the core values are real, then top HUD brass would be applying them. They are applying the opposites, instead. The MF Reorg, as one example, violates all of them. The latest broadcast, about HUD’s core value of fairness and respect, is a gut punch to everyone in the offices that are projected to be consolidated. It is an expression of the grossest, most disrespectful kind of contempt for staff, to have broadcasts like these. The MF Reorg is proof that HQ does NOT value staff, demonstrate compassion for those we serve, and treat others the way we would like to be treated. It does NOT involve conducting our work and administering our programs with fairness and justice, and with a commitment to civil rights, inclusion, and diversity. The core value of fairness and respect is shown to be utterly meaningless, in the reorg.
There really is no point in having core values, if the leaders of the organization aren't going to embody them in their work. We have only to look at the Multifamily Reorg, to see a flagrant violation of all of them. The forums on Leadership are useless. No staff are allowed to be leaders, in HUD, they are peasants, in a feudal system. Peasants are by definition stupid, and not worth listening to, and that is how staff are treated. Oh, they throw a copper coin or two, into the rabble, recognizing some insignificant idea that doesn't do much, but they ignore the really big ideas that would save the agency money, and accomplish the mission better. Companies talk about "engagement", that is, how staff do more than the bare minimum, from their strengths. HUD actually punishes engagement, and doesn't just ignore it. One has only to look at the Multifamily reorg to see the latest incident of this. If an idea has no value, why spend any time on it? Core Values have no value, to this agency. Why are we wasting staff time, and money, on this foolishness?
I know this reorganization is a challenging time, but the work we’re doing is closely aligned with our core values, ensuring that we’re transforming to become as efficient and effective as possible, and treating our team with as respect and fairness in making these tough decisions.
DC M commented
Maybe this can be done but separately? It seems tenants as well as HUD employees have frustrations. The system is not working for many of us, some who need it the most. I can see a roundtable, that avoids just repeat of the usual suspects/ advocates and other "reps" AKA lobbyists, but gets individuals involved. I can see some changes if there are some from HUD and some tenants and individual advocates willing to look at the whole picture and propose some constructive changes.
The fact that HUD came in dead last for all federal agencies in employee satisfaction on the 2013 EVS survey should be proof enough that the core values are ineffective and should be eliminated. See the results at http://www.fedview.opm.gov/
It is evident that the powers that be do not even understand WHAT we are. Ben Metcalf gave a dog and pony show comparing HUD to a BANK! When did HUD become a bank? While it is true some mortgage lenders are far away and the consumer never meets anyone from the actual lender, that does not make it better. Worse - we are an INSURANCE COMPANY AND A SOCIAL AGENCY. Both of these types of organizations have local presence to have face-to-face conversations with those we serve. Removing our clients ability to interact with us will only increase the number of bad/slum landlords, misuse of funds, loss of affordable housing and strains on the FHA insurance fund. The big thing I learned from this is that there is absolutely no reason to be loyal to HUD in any way shape or form. I just wish I had left HUD years ago and made much more money. I thought I was doing the right thing - guess it is true - no good deed goes unpunished.....
Jay, HUD HQ is incredibly insulated from the "real world" out in the field. People in the field are facing huge, life altering decisions. While having a year+ of lead time is good on one hand, it also drags out the torture and unknowing. Hard to make plans and prepare when you don't know what your options are.
Breaking Ground and SOI were marketed to the field as new ways of working together and handling projects in a triage manner. While this sounds noble and worthwhile, what it really did was prepare us for the “new” HUD – fewer people, homogenizing the work product, and manipulating “output” through bean counting and reporting. An office with current pipelines that moved an application through the process is treated no differently than offices that are less successful. The message we got was that it doesn’t matter – these were the new “rules” of HUD and regardless of what success you might have had in the past, this was how things are to be done now. What works on one coast must surely work on the opposite side of the country, right?
I see appraisers flying all over the US as part of the “work sharing”. How is it efficient to send an appraiser from the East Coast to Colorado for a week?
Morale is at an all-time low and what we seem to get in response from HQ is that “yes, times are difficult, but this is for your own good”. Sometimes it’s like HQ is chastising their employees for not towing the “party line”.
Bottom line – running a public agency like a for-profit company in the private sector does not work.
Kevin Pillsbury commented
Efficiency – Sustaining our Investments (SOI) (a part of the Transformation) has created more layers of bureaucracy. I have probably spent a month or more working on stuff related to SOI: investigating, rating, data entry, preparing for meetings, meetings, …. The process hasn’t revealed anything earth-shattering I didn’t already know. The time could have been spent helping projects. HQ could have – as they have done in the past – said to us update your iREMS troubled history information.
Accountability & Integrity – Were the HUD employees who volunteered to promote SOI ever told that SOI was an integral part of closing MF offices, including their offices? As far as I know they weren’t.
Accountability & Integrity – Were any of the new MF employees hired before the Transformation told the offices they would be moving to were going to be closed (MF division)? In two examples I know of - they weren't. New employees moved their families and made major commitments and now ….
Efficiency – Workload sharing. From what I can see more and more layers of bureaucracy.
Efficiency and Effectiveness – Workload sharing. Hopefully Anonymous won’t mind me borrowing and updating a part of their excellent post: “… moving WORK away from the people they serve does not seem to be an effective way of doing business. We are adding another layer of red tape for the low income, elderly, and disabled tenants who need to contact us, as they’ll call our local office and be told to call the new Hub instead. Property visits and Management Reviews will be even farther between than they are now, as no one believes that we will actually have travel money available to visit troubled properties several hundred miles away (this goes back to the efficiency piece as well).”
Jay, I don’t know that any in HQ can understand the environment in the field right now, but I’ll give it a shot:
Teamwork – leaving aside the complete lack of teamwork in developing this transformation plan, the announcement has damaged teamwork in the field by pitting offices against each other. Each eliminated Hub argues that they’re better than the ones selected, and there are rumors flying everywhere about one Hub trying to take another one out. Day to day, it’s hard to work as team members when we’re all looking for other jobs and wondering who will be the next to leave.
Efficiency – It’s not efficient to relocate staff farther away from the people they serve, to areas that are generally more expensive. I’ve estimated that to relocate me and my family would cost HUD $50,000-75,000, and I would also get a substantial raise based on locality pay at my new assignment (although it wouldn’t be enough to cover the increased costs of housing). Our office just signed a new three-year lease, so HUD will pay for office space for me in two locations for at least that long. Management has given no substantial reason why they ignore the most efficient solution, which is outstationing. All they’ll say is that it doesn’t fit HUD’s new business model.
Effectiveness – Again, moving staff away from the people they serve does not seem to be an effective way of doing business. We are adding another layer of red tape for the low income, elderly, and disabled tenants who need to contact us, as they’ll call our local office and be told to call the new Hub instead. Property visits and Management Reviews will be even farther between than they are now, as no one believes that we will actually have travel money available to visit troubled properties several hundred miles away (this goes back to the efficiency piece as well). HUD will lose a huge number of staff with years of institutional knowledge, as well as local knowledge of area markets, and the FHA fund will suffer increased risk as a result.
Accountability & Integrity – This has been violated by HUD management who refuse to be honest about the reason behind this transformation (and the reason they won’t allow outstationing): the primary goal is to reduce staff. It’s also violated by the Secretary, who has completely removed himself from this process and refuses to comment, despite the large numbers of staff whose lives are so negatively affected. If HUD needs to reduce staff and even locations for budget reasons, it would help if management is at least honest about that. Instead, they’ve tried to pretend this is a good thing for our stakeholders, which is simply not true.
Sorry, this got long – and these are just a few examples. It’s an extremely discouraging environment out here in the field, as we’ve been hanging here for over four months with no answers about when we will lose our jobs or be forced to uproot our lives. All the talk about core values in the midst of this just feels like salt in the wound.
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Then I withdraw the comparison- I didn't make it, other staff did, and since I have a Union position, I can transmit the concerns of others, anonymously, which means that people have a voice. Every justification in the Federal Register is false; every goal cited for the reorg could be better accomplished with less draconian methods, that would maintain effectiveness, and be in accord with the core values. I would google the Federal Register notice, for the justifications, none of which support the proposed reorg.
Thanks for suggestion, and let me say that I do also feel for all of the employees who will be affected by the reorgs.
I am curious if you can help me understand two of your points better:
1) Can you point me to some of the specific lies and BS you are referencing?
2) Can you provide a link to the justification you have seen for the reorg? I'd particularly be appreciative if you could highlight the portions of the justification which support not doing it.
Finally, I know some of the people working on this reorg project and they are good, hard-working people who do know how the agency works, some of them are trained in lean, and certainly none of them deserve to be compared to Timothy McVeigh. To compare them to Timothy McVeigh is clearly to ignore the core value of respect, so I would certainly appreciate it if you would tone down the rhetoric. I think we can all have a more productive conversation this way.
Someone else says it better:
Mr. Smith -
I realize you're paid to do this rah-rah stuff and that it pleases your bosses to think the rank and file at HUD are just super happy to work for them, but unless you have been living under a rock, you should have noticed that employee morale at HUD has nosedived this summer.
We know that the furlough days that were advertised as being necessary to meet sequestration goals were really caused by the need to free up funds for the Small Office Closing Re-Org and the Multi-Family Re-Org. (The Senate Appropriations Committee appears to have known it, too.) Between the totally unnecessary furlough days and the re-organizations, what morale rank and file HUD employees had has dropped like a rock in a pond.
I'm sure folks on the 10th floor are giddy, but if you, they and the other purposely blind management-types at HQ will talk to HUD employees that do not rely on you for their performance evaluations you'll find rank and file employees are not happy.
Management's refusal to outstation employees in Multi-Family (while still permitting hundreds of other employees to work in outstationed arrangements) will lead to hundreds of HUD employees leaving the agency, which, as the re-org explanation published in the Federal Register shows, was what the 10th floor wanted all along. Interestingly, nothing in the re-org seems to promise to move letters and documents any quicker between the AS and DAS offices.
Those re-orgs, along with the Sec'y and Dep Sec'y's promise of more reorganizations to come, and the knowledge they will both continue to disregard the Executive Order on pre-decisional discussions with the unions, have put a stake in the hearts and hopes of rank and file employees. We have little but less job security to look forward to, along with more work to do to cover what the departed folks aren't here to do.
By the way, I know people on the PACS committees and they tell me they have proposed ideas that got no attention or response from the 10th floor. These plans to make things better are not being accepted as truthful or anything more than smoke and mirrors to put a happy face on things until the political appointees leave at the end of this administration.
HUD employees work here because they love helping some of the most vulnerable of their fellow citizens. We're not just here for the paycheck. Most of us are career employees who will still be here putting out the fires these re-orgs will start long after the political appointees are gone. We love and respect the fact that what we do helps keep a roof over the heads of very low income grandmas, grandpas and other seniors, disabled folks and children. We were not the ones who decided to create these programs, the policy makers did that. But we helped write the rules and try to help our partners at the housing authorities, private property management firms, state housing and finance agencies, tribal governments and non-profit sponsors operate them as well as can be and as fairly as possible.
Between this administration and the current political climate, HUD and other Federal employees have been made enemies of the state when we are only doing what is asked of us by the administration and management. Some of even like to think we do our jobs for the higher purpose of helping American citizens. We don't think we're saints, we just want to help. This Administration needs to improve morale by improving treatment of employees and recognizing the effort we put in each week. Not just by more phony awards but by meaningful understanding and appreciation. Not by creating core values, either. We've had our values and worked under them for years. Political appointees by need someone to force some core values into how they do business, though. However these so-called improvements will not help HUD or our country.
I would be happy to discuss all these topics with you, or with the Secretary or with the Deputy Secretary, any time, any day, face to face, by teleconference, by video conference or by semifore flags, if need be, whatever will bring you to the table. Unfortunately, they love and prefer to make prepared remarks at their Townhalls, pick and choose the questions they will answer, and not really have honest discussions.
AFGE (and I'm sure NFFE, too) would be more than willing to join with management in pre-decisional discussions on ways to make these re-orgs and any future re-orgs more fair to employees while actually resulting in more productivity.
We want HUD to succeed and are still willing to work with you to accomplish that.