Originally created 10/25/02

Cleland opposes 'spoils' system



Saxby Chambliss is, at best, disingenuous. At worst, he's an outright liar. He has accused Sen. Max Cleland, D-Ga., of opposing the Bush administration's Homeland Security Bill.

In fact, Mr. Cleland favors the establishment of a new Homeland Security Department, but rightly opposes the administration's grab for unbridled and unwarranted power to hire and fire federal employees at will.

Such power would constitute a throwback to the days of good ol' boys in smoke-filled back rooms, dispensing political favors to their cronies. That process was known as the "spoils" system: To the victor belong the spoils.

Under that system, an incoming administration (Republican or Democrat) can fire at will any and all employees left over from the previous administration. Such concepts as "building a career" and "due process" would be totally ignored and unavailable.

The spoils system was properly discarded decades ago. Mr. Cleland, among many others, has recognized that the Bush administration's proposal would re-establish that system under the guise of "flexibility," another word for saying, "We won, so we'll put in our own people."

All federal employees, both active and retired (and there are many of us in the state of Georgia) should send Mr. Chambliss a message on Nov. 5: We unequivocally oppose the rebirth of the spoils system. Indeed, we urge all voters in Georgia to join us in voting for a true American hero, Max Cleland.

Robert Fry, Augusta