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civil service

January 18 roundup

by Walter Olson on January 18, 2010


Annals of civil service protection: the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has ruled in favor of the Patent and Trademark Office, which dismissed Asokkumar Pal after it “reviewed 16 randomly selected cases from Pal’s file to determine whether he was properly reviewing examiner decisions. They found he was not making the correct decisions – that he erred more than 35% of the time. (A 25% error rate would have been acceptable).” Pal’s appeal contended that others in the office had even higher error rates, that he had received many “outstanding” performance reviews, and that managers should have been required to review all of his cases rather than just a random sampling, but to no avail. (Patently-O, Dec. 16)*.

*Yes, we’re linking Patently-O even though they’re (momentarily) still ahead of us in the ABA blog contest voting. We’ll even stipulate that they’re a pretty good blog. That doesn’t excuse you from going and voting for Overlawyered now.


I’m quoted on the subject today in a piece by Ben Waxman on The Next Mayor, a “Rethinking Philadelphia” blog created by the Philly Daily News, WHYY and the Committee of Seventy. My City Journal article “Fixing the Civil Service Mess” from 1997 is here.