Published December 20, 2015
A Health and Human Services official is having a very public take-this-job-and-shove-it moment.
David Wright, the director of the federal agency's Office of Research Integrity, sent a scathing resignation letter to his boss late last month detailing -- with the precision of a seasoned researcher -- all his reasons for quitting the federal government. The letter catalogued the frustrations of getting minor expenses approved, of navigating department politics and of spinning his wheels on producing "repetitive and often meaningless data and reports to make our precinct of the bureaucracy look productive."
"I'm offended as an American taxpayer that the federal bureaucracy -- at least the part I've labored in -- is so profoundly dysfunctional," Wright wrote to Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH) Howard Koh.
The letter was obtained and published by ScienceInsider. Asked for comment, an HHS spokesperson told FoxNews.com: "HHS policy is not to comment on personnel matters."
Wright joined the research office, which monitors scientific misconduct, in early 2012. He had previously worked as an outside consultant for the same office, while working as a professor at Michigan State University.
The transition from university life to the government was apparently too much.
"This has been at once the best and worst job I've ever had," he wrote, reflecting fondly on his research work before launching into a tirade over everything else he did -- namely "navigating the remarkably dysfunctional HHS bureaucracy to secure resources and, yes, get permission for ORI to serve the research community."
He described asking, to no avail, to free up $35 at one point to convert tapes to CDs for a presentation. He ended up having to do it himself at a university.
Wright recalled how, when he needed to "urgently" fill a vacancy, he was told there was a "secret" priority list. But after 16 months, the position was never filled anyway.
And he lamented how he was told by superiors to "make my bosses look good" and "lower my expectations" in government service.
According to the letter, Wright said he'll continue to share anecdotes about his time at ORI by publishing "a version of the daily log I've kept."