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DFAS is one of the many obscure government agencies you never hear anything about – unless and until the officials in charge do something stupid.
So, here comes stupid. Defense Finance and Accounting Services, a Pentagon agency, has an office in Cleveland that writes and dispenses the paychecks of U.S. military personnel – including the paycheck of one commander-in-chief named Barack Obama. It’s routine, low-key work, but DFAS suddenly popped into the news recently because at least 62 of its Cleveland employees have received termination notices.
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Were they stealing, doing poor work, or maybe drawing silly faces on Obama’s monthly paycheck? No, they were doing nothing wrong and were even getting job performance ratings of “exceptional.” Their offense was merely that the national economic crisis has squeezed them pretty hard, causing them to fall behind on some of their bills. It turns out that DFAS monitors employees’ credit reports and deems a bad one grounds for dismissal!
This is… well, stupid. Taking away their paychecks is not going to help them pay off debts to improve their credit scores. One well-rated employee who was suspended after 17 years at DFAS for owing $6,000 on his credit card and hospital bills, notes that, “Cleveland is a very depressed area, it’s not like you can get another job.” Another with a $6,500 debt says simply: “We’re trying to deal with everyday challenges, to keep a roof over our head and put food on the table.”
Meanwhile, Wall Street bankers who plunged our nation into deep debt and forced working folks to bail them out still have their jobs and are strutting around with fresh, multimillion-dollar bonuses. The good news is that the Cleveland employees are fighting the stupidity. To keep up and join the fight, connect with www.afgelocal3283.org.
“Workers Who Help Process Obama’s Paycheck Face Termination,” www.abcnews.com, March 24, 2010.
“Pentagon: DFAS halts worker ‘credit rating’ firings,” www.wkyc.com, March 30, 2010.