Archive for the ‘CDC’ Category

Congress To Scrap CDC Ombudsman; A Year After Its Creation, Lawmakers Say Morale-boosting Office Is A Waste Of Money, But Others Say It’s Needed

December 7, 2007


The new ombudsman’s office at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was once considered critical to fixing the Atlanta-based agency’s poor employee morale and distrust of senior leadership.

The office was the cornerstone effort by CDC Director Julie Gerberding to address concerns — by members of Congress and five former agency directors — that the turmoil inside the CDC was putting public health at risk.

Now the ombudsman’s office, created in October 2006, is slated for elimination. It hadn’t even yet hired permanent staff. Some members of Congress consider it a waste of money and have put language in a pending 2008 federal budget bill prohibiting any future funds from going to it.

“I think the proposed congressional action is very unfortunate,” said Dr. David Sencer, one of five former CDC directors who have expressed concern about the agency’s morale problems. Hiring an ombudsman to help independently address staff concerns was a key recommendation of the former directors.

U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said he inserted language to eliminate the ombudsman’s office because it’s a waste of taxpayer money.

“My colleagues in Congress agreed with me that CDC doesn’t need a morale-boosting CDC ombudsman that costs over $1,000 a day and over $2,500 per employee visit,” Coburn said. “This money can be better spent.”

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