Posted: September 23rd, 2009 by Militant Libertarian
While President Obama delivers speeches praising the alleged success of Cash for Clunkers, a former rebate processor for the federal program – also working undercover for WND – is calling it “complete chaos.”
After the federal “Cash for Clunkers” program ended Aug. 24, the Department of Transportation reported that nearly 700,000 clunkers were taken off the roads and replaced by more fuel-efficient vehicles. Rebate applications worth $2.877 billion were submitted by the 8 p.m. deadline. The Transportation Department hired federal employees and private contract workers to process the rebates vouchers so car dealers would be compensated.
Former White House aide Kathleen Willey was hired as an employee with Vangent Incorporated, a company that provides information technology management and business process outsourcing services to the public and private sectors. Its clients include federal agencies such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the U.S. Departments of Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, Justice and Labor and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
But what her employer did not know was that Willey, the author of the book, “Target: Caught In the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton,” was also taking notes on all she observed and experienced for WND.
Kathleen Willey helped send President Clinton to the White House in 1992. Little did she imagine how the Clintons would repay her. Get Willey’s explosive hit, “Target: Caught in the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton,” at WND’s Superstore!
Vangent, based in Arlington, Va., secured a contract from the Department of Transportation in late August and earlier this month to handle 300,000 applications – or nearly half of all Cash for Clunkers vouchers.Vangent Vice President Eileen Rivera told WND the company hired at least 4,000 temporary employees in Chester, Va., Tampa, Fla., and London, Ky.
No work history needed
Willey processed the Cash for Clunkers vouchers at her position in Chester, Va. She attended a job fair on Aug. 31 and was hired through Astyra Corp., a minority-owned staffing company.
“We were told that we would be working on the Cash for Clunkers programming, examining all of the documents that the government had received from dealers all over the country,” Willey told WND.
She said many of the applicants had never even heard of the Cash for Clunkers program.
“We were not asked for any prior work history,” Willey said. “The job description was listed as data entry and called for the ability to type 30 words per minute. There were no job requirements actually listed on the application.”
The form requested direct deposit information, signature on a confidentiality agreement and background check, tax information and two forms of identification.
Willey said, “Some people did not have two forms, and I heard one recruiter say, ‘We will work with you on that.'”
She asked a woman who interviewed her what she would need to do before beginning her new position.
“When I asked if I needed to take any kind of test, the answer was, ‘No,'” Willey said. “She told me to report for work the next day at 4:30 p.m. When I asked if I had to pass a background check before I started, she said, ‘No.'”
However, Rivera said, “That’s absolutely not true. Every single temporary employee who was hired went through a background check. If the background check did not clear, then they were released. They were not allowed to work on this program.”
Barefoot and foul-mouthed employees
Willey said she was the only non-minority applicant in the room. While human resources required a strict dress code for the position, she said she was shocked by the clothing and conduct of other candidates who were interviewed:
I was the only one dressed for a job interview. Everyone else had on jeans and T-shirts. Most women wore flip-flops. One woman was barefoot. The women were dressed extremely unprofessionally, in jeans and very revealing tops. A lot of them wore T-shirts that barely covered their stomachs. What I noticed most were the foul mouths of everyone around me.
The next day, Willey reported that as many as 300 new employees attended orientation for new positions with Vangent.
“One of the first things we were told was that Cash for Clunkers will help the environment,” she said.
One supervisor told the group, “The president has passed a good bill to do something good for the American people, but this program is a ‘moving target.’ Rules are changed daily.”
A Department of Transportation webinar instructor repeated the statement about the program being a “moving target.”
“He was obviously with the administration because he told us that the Cash for Clunkers program was a huge success for the country as well as the environment,” Willey said. “He told us that we are dealing with ‘three times the business in one-third of the time.’ He also told us repeatedly that we were going to have to ‘get out of our comfort zones’ and be flexible.'”
She said she knew of only two professional trainers who had been brought in by the Department of Trainsportation to train everyone – supervisors, managers and employees. The supervisors and managers frequently contradicted one another and talked to the employees as if they were “in the first grade.” The recruits were told they would soon receive photo identification badges.
A paycheck to do ‘absolutely nothing’
The following day, on Sept. 2, employees waited outside from 4:30 p.m. until 6 p.m. to get into the building.
“Once inside, we waited another 30 minutes to sign in ‘so we would get paid,’ Willey recalled. “I noted that it was written on the piece of paper that our work day started at 4:30. We then waited in line at the ‘badge table’ to get our badges. When I got there, I had no badge. I finally got to my desk at about 6:45 p.m., where I sat with nothing to do until 10 p.m.”
The employees waited for their user IDs and passwords to access the Car Allowance Rebate System, or CARS. Meanwhile, they were being paid $14.71 an hour “to do absolutely nothing,” Willey said.
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