Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist, Crom Carmichael to the studio.
During the second hour, Carmichael discussed a little known body called the Merit Systems Protection Board, which is comprised of three members nominated by the President of the United States to protect from political and partisan personnel practices. He described the board as a bureaucracy that is set up and spends tens of millions of dollars a year while striving for unattainable perfection.
Leahy: Crom, good morning how are you?
Carmichael: Fine thank you, Michael. How are you?
Leahy: I’m great. By the way, we have some interesting features here we’re going to talk a little bit about tomorrow. I put out the Michael Patrick Leahy Genealogy Detective segment. I did a little bit on your very impressive family history.
Your great grandfather, a very interesting fellow who served at the Battle of Franklin. He had 11 kids who were very accomplished. And then a little bit on Carol Swain’s background. She is in fact a descendant of a man by the name of Thomas Jefferson. We don’t know what the relationship of that is to the Thomas Jefferson was. By the way, did you see Carol last night on Mark Levin?
Carmichael: I did not. I record his show. And we had some people over. My daughter and her husband came over. We were kind of getting ready. I recorded it and I will watch it.
Leahy: She was fabulous. And by the way for the listening audience, if you want to as I said, genealogy is sort of my hobby. I use it to relax. I know it sounds odd. It’s like solving a puzzle. I can take a half-hour or forty-five minutes over the weekend.
We got a request and Michael Patrick Genealogy Detective has undertaken the job of a woman who lives in Springfield who believes that her grandmother was related to the famous British spymaster who helped save the country in WWII. A man called Intrepid. We’ll bring that report to you.
Leahy: So that will be kind of fun. Well, Crom, it’s been a crazy week.
Carmichael: It has. For me, it capped off last night when I watched a portion of 60 Minutes. It was just kind of on. I generally don’t catch 60 Minutes. But I saw a portion of the program and all of a sudden it kind of hit me that you can take all our major cities but the one’s that are in the news right now, Seattle, Atlanta, our own city of Nashville, and Washington, D.C. Washington, D.C. is in the news because of this story from 60 Minutes. I could add that exactly the same issues are in Philadelphia, St. Louis, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. Any of our big cities.
Leahy: By the way, you know what they all have in common is? For years and decades have been run by Democrats.
Carmichael: They’ve been run by Democrats which have been funded by the unions. And I keep harping on this. We are not going to solve any of the problems that the protesters are after today until we address the union issue. The police unions make it difficult to get rid of bad police. There are not that many bad police. I would say that there are one percent of police are bad I would be surprised because that would be eight thousand, less than one percent. But for teachers and for our bureaucrats.
Leahy: Public school teachers it’s much higher.
Carmichael: And the bureaucrats. It’s more these bureaucrats that are on these boards of education.
Leahy: Good point.
Carmichael: We are overweighted with non-teachers compared to teachers and our school systems do a terrible job. This is across the board. So when you see a problem that is across the board you have to find a fundamental problem. This is the story on 60 Minutes that was just so fascinating to me.
Nora O’Donnell who is an anchor on CBS’s Nightly News has now been elevated to the status of a bimbo. (Leahy laughs) And I say that because she’s sitting there talking to people and she is getting information. But she is so focused on the issue that she is paid millions of dollars to focus on that all of the other information that was coming her way, she was oblivious to it.
Leahy: By the way for our listening audience that may be tuning in for the first time, we’ve been having discussions about what the word bimbo means.
Leahy: And in this particular instance we’ve identified that the word bimbo as defined by dictionary.com has three definitions. One, a foolish stupid or inept person. Two, a man or fellow often a disreputable or contemptible one and the third one is the more commonly understood one; an attractive but stupid young woman especially one with loose morals.
Carmichael: She’s in the first category.
Leahy: She’s a foolish, stupid, or inept person.
Carmichael: Yes. Based on what she did on 60 Minutes.
Leahy: She’s joining Joe Biden as a bimbo in that category.
Carmichael: She joins him as a bimbo in that category. But here’s the information that came up while she was talking about bureaucracy in Washington that I did not know existed. Now there are many many bureaucracies in Washington, D.C.
Leahy: The city of Washington, D.C.?
Carmichael: Have you ever heard of it?
Leahy: Not until this very moment.
Carmichael: The merit systems protection board has three members of the board. They are appointed by presidents’. It’s supposed to be “bi-partisan” so there can never be more than two from one party.
Leahy: So they are appointed by the President of the United States.
Leahy: And the reason they are appointed by the President of the United States is because the District of Columbia has a unique constitutional status.
Carmichael: It has nothing to do with the city. This is our national government at work here.
Leahy: Oh, it’s the national government. OK. I stand corrected.
Carmichael: This is Nora O’Donnell on this story. It’s because right now non of the three board seats are occupied. None of them. And so the board cannot function. And for Nora O’Donnell this is absolutely deplorable that a federal bureaucracy cannot function.
Now there are 100 employees at the merit systems protection board. Now, this is numbers and so you have to pay attention. There are two million federal employees. According to the people she interviewed, 80,000 of those two million quit every year. That means that the average tenure is 25 years.
Carmichael: That means we are overpaying. You should have more turnover than that. There are 12,000 people who are fired. Those 12,000 people when they are fired get to appeal to an administrative judge. All but 800 of those cases are resolved by the administrative judge. The 800 can if they wish can appeal to the merit systems protection board.
Carmichael: Here you have a bureaucracy that is set up that spends tens of millions of dollars a year and it adjudicates 800 claims out of two million people. And it strives for the unattainable and that is perfection. Now, in this particular case and this is the part that was amazing.
There is a guy who is in Tennessee who served in the military and his name is Chris Markus and when he left the military he became a supervisor over three VA hospitals in Tennessee. Part of his job was to walk around and find people who weren’t showing up to work on time or showing up to work regularly.
Then he started digging into their cases and they weren’t even doing their job well so he would write them up. He would send them up to the person above him. Nothing would get done. He got fired for writing up people who weren’t doing their job.
Leahy: (Chuckles) You are kidding me?
Leahy: When was he fired?
Carmichael: Fairly recently because the administrative judge ordered the VA to take him back. They refused. They have appealed to the merit systems protection board.
Carmichael: (Chuckles) They have and because there are no board members they cannot act. And Nora O’Donnell says there are 129 cases now at the merit systems protection board. She is completely oblivious to the ridiculousness of this bureaucracy and she’s completely oblivious to the fact that this guy was pointing out people within the bureaucracy who were not doing their jobs. And she seems to be completely oblivious to the fact that the people above him weren’t doing their jobs either.
Leahy: Is this guy back on the job now?
Carmichael: No. No, he is still not on the job because Trump has nominated three people that are apparently not supposed to happen and their at loggerheads over these three nominees. And so that is a bureaucracy in action. And I want to take that idea and apply it to these other cities.
Listen to the full second hour:
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About the Headline Photo: Dennis Dean Kirk, pictured, was nominated to chair the Merit Systems Protection Board in March 2018. He is awaiting confirmation by the Senate. Meanwhile, he serves as an Associate Director at the Office of Personnel Management.