Asks Social Security Commissioner Barnhart to Put House in Ethical Order
(WASHINGTON) – John Gage, national president of the American Federation Government Employees (AFGE) today called on Thomas Saving to resign his position as public trustee of Social Security and Medicare. Saving, as announced in a 2/23/2005 press release put out by Progress for America, is advising the group. Progress for America is an issue advocacy organization committed to advancing “a conservative legislative agenda to reform Social Security.”
Thomas Saving testified before the House Ways and Means Committee today on the future of Social Security. The Ways and Means Committee web site describes Saving as “Public Trustee, Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds.”
“Thomas Saving should resign as a public trustee of Social Security and Medicare because of his severe conflict of interest,” said Gage, a former employee of the Social Security Administration who worked for the agency for nearly 30 years. “When a trustee testifies before Congress, there should be no question about who that trustee speaks for. But who does Thomas Saving speak for, the people who rely on Social Security or the partisan political organization Progress for America?”
Gage also called on Social Security Commissioner Jo Anne B. Barnhart to clean up the ethics mess that is growing within the Social Security Administration. From enrolling career employees in a PR campaign to sell the public on privatizing Social Security, to the participation of SSA deputy commission James B. Lockhart III in pro-privatization events held by congressional Republicans, to the alignment of Social Security Trustee Thomas Saving with an organization that holds a blatantly partisan position on Social Security, Gage said situations within SSA are raising serious ethics questions.
The National Social Security Council, officially known as the National Council of SSA Field Operations Locals (Council 220), represents about 28,000 employees of the Social Security Administration who work in field offices and all national calling centers.
The American Federation of Government Employees is the largest federal employee union, representing 600,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.