Monthly Archives: October 2019

The “Deep State”

20 plus years ago I was elected the local President of a NY State public employees union representing professional, scientific, and technical workers, a somewhat curious occurrence considering I am/was a conservative and generally anti-union. Nevertheless, I won by a 2:1 vote margin and was fairly popular, if I may say so; it proved to be a revealing experience. One of the members was a middle-aged guy with whom I had a friendly acquaintance. He was always affable and seemed perfectly competent and dedicated, but there was always a vague stain on his reputation- he was barely tolerated by management and never seemed to be going anywhere in his career. At times he suggested there was an ill-defined conspiracy against him, which he attributed to his declining to be part of the old-boys network from years past, the kind of claim to which one responds, “Is that right?”

One day, as an office building was being shuffled about, another employee came across a file with his name and, assuming it was his, handed it to him. As he looked through it he came to quite a realization- the folder contained all sorts of management documents and communications ridiculing and demeaning him, going back years. In essence he was accidentally given a “secret” file that proved he was indeed a target of an administrative conspiracy, in violation of numerous contractual and policy rules. Keep in mind we were not a nerve center of NY State government, but a rather remote outpost, so to speak. From the union standpoint we had a field day, with one of the few administrative people with integrity admitting, “We have no excuse or defense.” I learned during my union time his case was not altogether unique, and that there are always plenty of petty people lining up to curry favor with bosses by disparaging others and bosses who bask in their own petty power and who live to have their boots licked.

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