Time: Thu Oct 09 12:56:18 1997
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Date: Thu, 09 Oct 1997 12:50:39 -0700
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: IRS Rank and File Say Hearings Intensified Morale Problem


/s/ Paul Mitchell

>IRS Rank and File Say Hearings Intensified Morale Problem
>WASHINGTON (AP) Tales of IRS misconduct that emerged from Senate
>investigative hearings came at a time when morale already was low, members
>of the agency's rank and file say. 
>>From Texas to Michigan to Maryland, a cross-section of IRS workers said
>they were distressed that the Finance Committee hearings cast too broad a
>brush over 102,000 workers. 
>As House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, and Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La.,
>prepared to kick off a "National Tax Reform Tour" Friday in Ohio, some
>Internal Revenue Service employees still bristle over the tone of hearings.
>"I feel like I am watching, hearing and reading the Salem witch trials,"
>said Sandra Leigh, a Florida agent who poured out her thoughts in a letter
>to Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla. 
>"We love our country, express our opinions and file and pay our taxes. ...
>Do not, however, lump all the hard-working, dedicated employees in the same
>pot," Leigh said. 
>Leigh's comments she uses a pseudonym for a last name after she says her
>life was threatened reflect the dismay of several veteran workers who
>discussed the climate at the IRS in the aftermath of the hearings. 
>The hearings featured allegations that pressures on agents to meet
>collection goals lead to wide abuses of taxpayers. Some witnesses described
>emotional turmoil as they tried for years to resolve tax issues that
>weren't their fault, only to have their credit damaged or face potential
>seizure of their homes. 
>Acting IRS Commissioner Michael Dolan apologized before the committee and
>promised reforms. But reaction from rank-and-file agents was mixed. Some
>said they've never heard of such abuses. 
>"I can't say I've had that same experience," Denice Dickey-Vaughan, a
>collections staffer with 13-years in the Richmond, Va., office, said in a
>telephone interview. 
>Joe Boyd, a 30-year veteran in St. Louis, said the hearings amounted to "a
>few isolated incidents for a 100,000 employees who are basically trying to
>enforce the laws that Congress writes." 
>"There is no doubt that stuff goes on," said Boyd, the local IRS union
>chapter president. "You can't paint with such a wide brush that the agency
>as a whole encouraged that." 
>IRS workers have faced strains due to budget cuts and staff reductions.
>During that time, criticism of the agency was unprecedented, said former
>Commissioner Margaret Milner Richardson. 
>"We've had three years of reductions in the budget and a hiring freeze on
>top of that," said Larry Bergquist, a revenue office and adviser with the
>IRS in Detroit. "We've had less and less people to do the job. And you've
>got a bunch of employees who feel badly because they are getting beat up in
>Low morale has alarmed many who represent taxpayers before the IRS. 
>"We believe the current state of employee morale is so low that it
>jeopardizes this perception of adequate representation of the public
>interest," said Joseph Lane of the National Association of Enrolled Agents,
>licensed as taxpayer advocates to the IRS. 
>The IRS' mishandling of a $3.3 billion computer modernization project
>served as a vivid example of the agency's problems. But there have been
>successes. There's an improved system to file taxes via touch-tone
>telephone, better accuracy on its toll-free help lines and, by all
>accounts, a smoothly handled 1997 tax filing season. 
>Senate Finance Chairman William V. Roth Jr., R-Del., said he sought
>"constructive criticism criticism with the intent to improve, not destroy."
>But the head of the IRS workers' union, Robert Tobias, called for an end to
>"IRS bashing." 
>"Because I can tell you, with this bashing the amount of threats and
>assaults on IRS employees will go up and is going up," said Tobias,
>president of the National Treasury Employees Union. 
>He said 3,200 cases of assaults and threats occurred in the past five years
>against agency workers, such as a 1995 attempted bombing of an IRS office
>in Reno, Nev., by tax protesters. 
>Leigh, the Florida agent who works out of the Fort Pierce-Fort St. Lucie
>office, recalled how a tax protester filed a lien against her home as she
>and her husband tried to refinance it. Another sent a letter proclaiming a
>"declaration of war" against her. 
>"It scares you," Leigh said. She arranged for the local sheriff's
>department to patrol near her home to make sure her daughters get home from
>school safely. 
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Paul Andrew Mitchell, Sui Juris      : Counselor at Law, federal witness 01
B.A.: Political Science, UCLA;   M.S.: Public Administration, U.C.Irvine 02
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_____________________________________: Law is authority in written words 09
As agents of the Most High, we came here to establish justice.  We shall 10
not leave, until our mission is accomplished and justice reigns eternal. 11
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