• “Conduct Unbecoming a Federal Officer”

    December 27, 2012

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: Embassy/State

    Sorry to interrupt your holidays, but the Federal government has found yet another new low, apparently disciplining a Social Security Administration (SSA) employee for farting. Yes, these are your tax dollars!

    Sorry to slide this blog into the realm of fart jokes, but it appears to be no joke. The time documenting the employee’s flatulence and conducted a formal disciplinary process resulted in a five page letter of reprimand even now being studied for grievance potential by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the union that represents the SSA worker. The letter documents not just a single instance of bad gas, but a pattern of such over a period of several months, interrupted by the “counseling sessions” required by supervisors seeking to discipline a civil servant.

    For example, it is noted that “The following dates show the time of your flatulence.” What followed was a log listing 17 separate dates (and 60 specific times) on which the employee passed gas. For example, the man’s September 19 output included nine instances of flatulence, beginning at 9:45 AM and concluding at 4:30 PM.

    The formal result was a charge of “Conduct Unbecoming a Federal Officer.” Here’s the letter.

    There remains of course the possibility that this is all a hoax, but, having received my share of letters of reprimand (none for farting, just for blogging), the letter reads real. As a supervisor myself at the State Department, I was forced to go through such a process with a civil servant who, for her own mental reasons, stopped bathing and switched to an all-vinegar diet, the combination of which created a very difficult office environment.

    Americans– taxpayers– you can stop saying now that the government in general and Social Security in particular “do nothing” and are full of lazy, incompetent boneheads. We now have written proof that the government in general and Social Security in particular have managers who know how to document a personnel issue and are full of lazy, incompetent gasbags.

    Update: There is no truth to the rumor that the gassy employee has been offered a political appointee job as an ambassador. Stop saying mean things like that!

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  • Recent Comments

    • Eric Hodgdon said...


      If the occurrences are from olfactory recognition, then dietary examination and potential adjustments are in order as the only “counseling” required.

      If the occurrences are strictly in the auditory reports, then I find them harmless, much like a bird chirping or children playing.

      12/27/12 5:14 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      The use of chemical weapons represents a red line which the United States will respond appropriately to. — Barack Obama

      12/27/12 5:23 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Shouldn’t flatulence be covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act? If so, State must provide a venting system to solve this “conduct problem.”

      FYI – The Federal Gov accommodated smokers in federal buildings with venting systems until 2008.

      Maybe THIS was the “mushroom cloud” that Condi Rice-erroni meant.

      12/27/12 5:51 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...


      Isn’t the decision to fart excusable on the ground of being within a Federal officer’s exercise of discretion?

      12/27/12 6:15 PM | Comment Link

    • lost in the sauce said...


      At least SSA, unlike DS and DOS, get around to substantiating allegations and disciplining employees. I wonder if this guy would have had his security clearance suspended or revoked by DS in the interest of national security. What a joke.

      12/27/12 11:34 PM | Comment Link

    • Lafcadio said...


      At State, we’d give this guy a Meritorious Honor Award and a GS-15. . .

      ohhh wait, we already have (insert names of several non-productive VO and OCS employees)

      12/28/12 12:42 AM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      ummmm…your joking, right Peter? Naw..this couldn’t be for real. Really? FARTING? I mean..REALLY?

      note to self. File under..


      That’s it. I give. Your killen me. I’ve already split a gut over the last one. Can’t take no more.
      I can just hear Carlin now. I mean..oh for fuck sake. This re-defines ludicrous. I mean..we’re talkin the Grand Unified Theory of Stupidity(GUTS)here. Like..beyond the Big Bang…WAY beyond. So far beyond even gravity is warped. I mean..SUPERSTUPIDITY!! geeeezus..I mean were lookin at the first fundamental stupid force to break away! In fact..I’d submit were lookin at bona fide evidence of the First, Second and Third principles of GUTS.

      “I. Since only stupidity was present in the very early universe the other fundamental forces, and even matter itself, must have formed from stupidity.
      According to Pauli, you cannot know both a particle’s position and momentum. You can, however, know one of the two. Since you cannot know where the particle will be in the future without knowing both its current position and momentum, attempting to predict the future behavior of the particle is an exercise in stupidity. Stupidity must therefore exist in very small quantities. Scientists have named these incredibly small packets of stupidity stupidons.

      Gravity itself can be explained in terms of stupidity.

      It has been known since antiquity that any object, left unsupported, will fall down and never fall up despite numerous efforts to legislate that it do so. If matter is composed of stupidity, and since stupidity is always attracted to other stupidity (as is proven at DOS daily), gravity is nothing more that stupidity that cannot be ignored.

      Once stupidity was accepted as the basic unit of nature, scientists used this principle to solve one of the great mysteries of the universe: why do galaxies, and even systems of galaxies, behave stupidly?

      Galaxies, as we know, are big bundles of stars that rotate around a common center. The speed at which the stars rotate about that common center should be constantly decreasing with the distance from the center of the galaxy. There was only one small problem: every observation proved that the velocities remained the same, no matter where the star was located.

      In order for this to occur, gravity must be supplying the additional energy. But where was the matter that would be responsible for supplying the gravity? There was only one explanation: the matter was there, except that it couldn’t be seen. This was the discovery of dark matter, which is felt to compose 95% of the universe.

      Superstupidity, as we have seen, has shown that since everything in the visible universe is composed of stupidity. It is only logical to assume that everything in the invisible universe, the so-called dark matter, is also composed of stupidity. This leads to the second principle of GUTS.

      II. 95% of the known universe is composed of a mysterious substance known as dark stupidity.

      Dark stupidity cannot be seen or measured directly but its presence can be inferred from it s actions on other objects as is the case with the observed rotational characteristics of galaxies. There are, however, other examples of the effects of dark stupidity. Some of the more common phenomena influenced by dark stupidity are:
      Politics and Diplomacy



      Career Choices

      These observations, among countless others, lead the third principle of GUTS.

      III. Since stupidity is the fundamental unit of nature, all natural objects are subject to the previously stated Five Fundamental Laws of Stupidity. Thus, any natural object is inherently stupid.”

      Well, that about sums it up. Have a great day.

      12/28/12 6:04 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Speaking of deadly gases, eight sailors are suing a Japanese utility over radiation leaks.


      If they succeed, expect lawsuits from Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

      12/28/12 7:35 PM | Comment Link

    • Jim said...


      My SSA problem has not been resolved since apr 2011, but a fart cuts to the head if the line.
      This is incredible waste of energy that could be used resolving actual issues.
      jim hruska

      12/28/12 10:55 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      quote:”This is incredible waste of energy” unquote

      Do I detect a pun. 🙂

      12/29/12 3:59 PM | Comment Link

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