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ABUSE OF USPTO’S TELEWORK PROGRAM:ENSURING OVERSIGHT, ACCOUNTABILITYAND QUALITYJOINT HEARINGBEFORE THECOMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARYAND THECOMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT ANDGOVERNMENT REFORMHOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVESONE HUNDRED THIRTEENTH CONGRESSSECOND SESSIONNOVEMBER 18, 2014Serial No. 113–117(Committee on the Judiciary)Serial No. 113–150(Committee on Oversight and Government Reform)(Available via the World Wide Web: ://oversight.house.gov

ABUSE OF USPTO’S TELEWORK PROGRAM:ENSURING OVERSIGHT, ACCOUNTABILITY AND QUALITY

ABUSE OF USPTO’S TELEWORK PROGRAM:ENSURING OVERSIGHT, ACCOUNTABILITYAND QUALITYJOINT HEARINGBEFORE THECOMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARYAND THECOMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT ANDGOVERNMENT REFORMHOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVESONE HUNDRED THIRTEENTH CONGRESSSECOND SESSIONNOVEMBER 18, 2014Serial No. 113–117(Committee on the Judiciary)Serial No. 113–150(Committee on Oversight and Government Reform)(Available via the World Wide Web: ://oversight.house.govU.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE91–315 PDFWASHINGTON:2014For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing OfficeInternet: bookstore.gpo.gov Phone: toll free (866) 512–1800; DC area (202) 512–1800Fax: (202) 512–2104 Mail: Stop IDCC, Washington, DC 20402–0001

COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARYBOB GOODLATTE,F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, JR.,WisconsinHOWARD COBLE, North CarolinaLAMAR SMITH, TexasSTEVE CHABOT, OhioSPENCER BACHUS, AlabamaDARRELL E. ISSA, CaliforniaJ. RANDY FORBES, VirginiaSTEVE KING, IowaTRENT FRANKS, ArizonaLOUIE GOHMERT, TexasJIM JORDAN, OhioTED POE, TexasJASON CHAFFETZ, UtahTOM MARINO, PennsylvaniaTREY GOWDY, South CarolinaRAÚL LABRADOR, IdahoBLAKE FARENTHOLD, TexasGEORGE HOLDING, North CarolinaDOUG COLLINS, GeorgiaRON DeSANTIS, FloridaJASON T. SMITH, Missouri[Vacant]Virginia, ChairmanJOHN CONYERS, JR., MichiganJERROLD NADLER, New YorkROBERT C. ‘‘BOBBY’’ SCOTT, VirginiaZOE LOFGREN, CaliforniaSHEILA JACKSON LEE, TexasSTEVE COHEN, TennesseeHENRY C. ‘‘HANK’’ JOHNSON, JR.,GeorgiaPEDRO R. PIERLUISI, Puerto RicoJUDY CHU, CaliforniaTED DEUTCH, FloridaLUIS V. GUTIERREZ, IllinoisKAREN BASS, CaliforniaCEDRIC RICHMOND, LouisianaSUZAN DelBENE, WashingtonJOE GARCIA, FloridaHAKEEM JEFFRIES, New YorkDAVID N. CICILLINE, Rhode IslandSHELLEY HUSBAND, Chief of Staff & General CounselPERRY APELBAUM, Minority Staff Director & Chief Counsel(II)

COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORMDARRELL E. ISSA,JOHN L. MICA, FloridaMICHAEL R. TURNER, OhioJOHN J. DUNCAN, JR., TennesseePATRICK T. MCHENRY, North CarolinaJIM JORDAN, OhioJASON CHAFFETZ, UtahTIM WALBERG, MichiganJAMES LANKFORD, OklahomaJUSTIN AMASH, MichiganPAUL A. GOSAR, ArizonaPATRICK MEEHAN, PennsylvaniaSCOTT DESJARLAIS, TennesseeTREY GOWDY, South CarolinaBLAKE FARENTHOLD, TexasDOC HASTINGS, WashingtonCYNTHIA M. LUMMIS, WyomingROB WOODALL, GeorgiaTHOMAS MASSIE, KentuckyDOUG COLLINS, GeorgiaMARK MEADOWS, North CarolinaKERRY L. BENTIVOLIO, MichiganRON DESANTIS, FloridaCalifornia, ChairmanELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, Maryland, RankingMinority MemberCAROLYN B. MALONEY, New YorkELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District ofColumbiaJOHN F. TIERNEY, MassachusettsWM. LACY CLAY, MissouriSTEPHEN F. LYNCH, MassachusettsJIM COOPER, TennesseeGERALD E. CONNOLLY, VirginiaJACKIE SPEIER, CaliforniaMATTHEW A. CARTWRIGHT, PennsylvaniaTAMMY DUCKWORTH, IllinoisROBIN L. KELLY, IllinoisDANNY K. DAVIS, IllinoisPETER WELCH, VermontTONY CARDENAS, CaliforniaSTEVEN A. HORSFORD, NevadaMICHELLE LUJAN GRISHAM, New Mexico[Vacant]LAWRENCE J. BRADY, Staff DirectorJOHN D. CUADERES, Deputy Staff DirectorSTEPHEN CASTOR, General CounselLINDA A. GOOD, Chief ClerkDAVID RAPALLO, Minority Staff Director(III)

CONTENTSNOVEMBER 18, 2014PageOPENING STATEMENTSThe Honorable Bob Goodlatte, a Representative in Congress from the Stateof Virginia, and Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary .The Honorable John Conyers, Jr., a Representative in Congress from theState of Michigan, and Ranking Member, Committee on the Judiciary .The Honorable Darrell E. Issa, a Representative in Congress from the Stateof California, and Chairman, Committee on Oversight and GovernmentReform .The Honorable Elijah Cummings, a Representative in Congress from theState of Maryland, and Ranking Member, Committee on Oversight andGovernment Reform .The Honorable Gerald E. Connolly, a Representative in Congress from theState of Virginia, and Member, Committee on Oversight and GovernmentReform .14577WITNESSESThe Honorable Frank Wolf, a Representative in Congress from the Stateof VirginiaOral Testimony .Prepared Statement .Margaret A. Focarino, Commissioner for Patents, United States Patent andTrademark OfficeOral Testimony .Prepared Statement .The Honorable Todd J. Zinser, Inspector General, U.S. Department of CommerceOral Testimony .Prepared Statement .Robert D. Budens, President, Patent Office Professional AssociationOral Testimony .Prepared Statement .Esther M. Kepplinger, Vice Chair, Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC)Oral Testimony .Prepared Statement .William F. Smith, Of Counsel, BakerHostetlerOral Testimony .Prepared Statement .111422252830525467697779LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARINGMaterial submitted by the Honorable Gerald E. Connolly, a Representativein Congress from the State of Virginia, and Member, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform .Material submitted by the Honorable Frank Wolf, a Representative in Congress from the State of Virginia .(V)917

VIPageAPPENDIXMATERIAL SUBMITTEDFOR THEHEARING RECORDMaterial submitted by the Honorable Darrell E. Issa., a Representative inCongress from the State of California, and Chairman, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform .Supplemental Material submitted by Robert D. Budens, President, PatentOffice Professional Association .Supplemental Material submitted by William F. Smith, Of Counsel,BakerHostetler .Material submitted by the Honorable Jackie Speier, a Representative in Congress from the State of California, and Member, Committee on Oversightand Government Reform .Letter from the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) .Response to Questions for the Record from the Honorable Todd J. Zinser,Inspector General, U.S. Department of Commerce .128176244271339344

ABUSE OF USPTO’S TELEWORK PROGRAM:ENSURING OVERSIGHT, ACCOUNTABILITYAND QUALITYTUESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2014HOUSEREPRESENTATIVESOFCOMMITTEEON THEJUDICIARYAND THECOMMITTEEONOVERSIGHTANDGOVERNMENT REFORMWashington, DC.The Committees met, pursuant to call, at 1:42 p.m., in room2141, Rayburn House Office Building, the Honorable Bob Goodlatte(Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary) presiding.Present from the Committee on the Judiciary: RepresentativesGoodlatte, Forbes, Chaffetz, King, Franks, Gohmert, Poe, Marino,Labrador, Holding, Collins, DeSantis, Conyers, Nadler, Lofgren,Jackson Lee, Johnson, and Cicilline.Present from the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform: Representatives Issa, Mica, Turner, Jordan, Walberg, Lankford, Amash, Gosar, Meehan, Massie, Cummings, Tierney, Clay,Lynch, Connolly, Speier, Cartwright, Kelly, Davis, Cardenas, andLujan Grisham.Staff Present from the Committee on the Judiciary: (Majority)Shelley Husband, Chief of Staff & General Counsel; Branden Ritchie, Deputy Chief of Staff & Chief Counsel; Allison Halataei, Parliamentarian & General Counsel; David Whitney, Counsel; Kelsey Deterding, Clerk; (Minority) Perry Apelbaum, Minority Staff Director& Chief Counsel; Danielle Brown, Parliamentarian; Jason Everett,Counsel; and Rosalind Jackson, Clerk.Staff Present from the Committee on Oversight and GovernmentReform: (Majority) Alexa Armstrong, Legislative Assistant; MollyBoyl, Deputy General Counsel and Parliamentarian; Sharon Casey,Senior Assistant Clerk; John Cuaderes, Deputy Staff Director;Lamar Echols, Counsel; Adam P. Fromm, Director of Member Services and Committee Operations; Linda Good, Chief Clerk; Mark D.Marin, Deputy Staff Director for Oversight; Ashok M. Pinto, ChiefCounsel, Investigations; Laura L. Rush, Deputy Chief Clerk; Jessica Seale, Digital Director; Andrew Shult, Deputy Digital Director;Jonathan J. Skladany, Deputy General Counsel; (Minority) PortiaBamiduro, Counsel; Meghan Berroya, Chief Investigative Counsel;Krista Boyd, Deputy Director of Legislation/Counsel; Lena Chang,(1)

2Counsel; Courtney Cochran, Press Secretary; Jennifer Hoffman,Communications Director; and Juan McCullum, Clerk.Mr. GOODLATTE. The Committee will come to order.And, without objection, the Chair is authorized to declare recesses of the Committee at any time.We welcome everyone to this afternoon’s joint oversight hearingof the House Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee onOversight and Government Reform entitled ‘‘Abuse of USPTO’sTelework Program: Ensuring Oversight, Accountability, and Quality.’’And I will begin by recognizing myself for an opening statement.The purpose of the United States Patent and Trademark Officeis to promote innovation and ensure the integrity and advancementof intellectual property rights by thoroughly examining applicationsand issuing quality patents and trademarks.Recent years have brought a great many positive changes toAmerica’s patent system and the PTO. Many of these were spurredby changes in law that were championed by Members of the Judiciary Committee, one of the two Committees responsible for conducting this joint oversight hearing today on allegations that relateto abuses at the Agency.The PTO’s telework program has been widely acclaimed as amodel for the public and private sector in recent years. Proponentshave cited a number of important benefits that are attributable tothe Agency’s teleworking program.These include modernizing and improving the Agency’s workforce, reducing attrition and the life cycle costs of examiners, enhancing employee quality of life, and diminishing the Agency’sneed for space and rental expenses.It is evident that telework and other flexible work programs,when properly managed, can pay enormous dividends to both employers and employees in terms of increased productivity and jobsatisfaction.Until this summer, there seemed to be little reason to questionwhether the PTO’s senior leadership has been doing an effective jobof properly managing its workforce, which is now dispersedthroughout the Nation.Cracks began to appear in that facade, though, in late July afterthe Department of Commerce Office of Inspector General publishedtwo troubling investigative reports.The first focused on hiring practices at the Trademark Officewhere a senior official resigned shortly after a finding that she repeatedly assisted an individual who was apparently not qualifiedto receive a Federal job at the Agency.A second inquiry focused on the Patent Trial and Appeal Board,or PTAB. In that case, the OIG found that the lack of work forparalegals resulted in waste totaling more than 5 million and thatsenior officials were aware of the situation for years and failed totake action to prevent further waste.The OIG noted USPTO management provided over 680,000 inbonuses over a 4-year period, even when the paralegals who received these bonuses did not have enough work to keep them fullyengaged. Notwithstanding the absence of work, 95 percent of paralegals reportedly received the highest performance ratings.

3Subsequently, the PTO announced it made structural improvements to the paralegal program and it was evaluating ways toeliminate their underutilization and revise the way their performance is measured. To date, though, there doesn’t appear to be anyeffort at the Agency to recalculate the bonuses paid during this period, many of which the OIG regards as improper payments.Two weeks after these reports were released, the WashingtonPost published an article entitled ‘‘Patent Office Filters OutTelework Abuses in Report to its Watchdog.’’ That article describednumerous instances of alleged employee misconduct and suggestedagency officials may have revised an initial report to conceal possible abuses and mismanagement in yet another program, the patent examination telework program.Employing nearly two-thirds of the PTO’s workforce, the PatentExamination Program is at the core of the PTO’s operation. It hasdoubled in size in less than a decade as the PTO has grown fromone office in Alexandria to include satellite offices in geographicareas as diverse as Dallas, Detroit, Denver, and Silicon Valley.Approximately half of patent examiners now work from homefull-time. Another one-third work from home part-time. This includes some 6,500 employees. There is little doubt that the overwhelming majority of examiners are hard-working, honest, and professional.However, the Agency concluded in its initial assessment thatthere are ‘‘multiple instances where there was evidence that an employee was potentially engaging in time and attendance abuse.’’Yet, management would not allow a thorough investigation, norwould management allow records to be used, as evidenced in a disciplinary or adverse action.This is disturbing and calls into question the objectivity and reliability of subsequent statements by PTO officials that there is onlyevidence of isolated abuses and no conclusive evidence of systemicabuse.From my perspective, the issue is not whether telework shouldcontinue at the PTO, but, rather, under what terms and conditionsit should operate and whether it is being properly and effectivelymanaged.In addition, today’s hearing will touch on other issues that arecurrently the subject of investigation at the PTO. These include theeffects of mortgaging or work credit abuse and end-loading on patent quality. The IG has indicated these practices may present systemic issues as well.Finally, we will explore the extent to which allegations of timeand attendance abuse are not unique to the telework environment,but, instead, may derive from the manner in which the PTO measures performance and conducts its business, including the countsystem.With that, I conclude my opening remarks and, in a moment, willturn to the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, the gentleman from Michigan, Mr. Conyers.In the meantime, I do want to advise the Members of the Committee that I am going to have to step out to the Republican Steering Committee and the gentleman from California, the Chairman

4of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, who hasdone yeoman’s work on this issue, will take the Chair.I also want to welcome the gentleman from Maryland for hiswork in this effort as well.So now I will recognize the gentleman from Michigan for hisopening statement.Mr. CONYERS. Thank you, Chairman Goodlatte.I begin by welcoming the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and its leaders to this joint hearing. I think it is veryimportant and very appropriate.Today’s hearing provides an opportunity to examine the teleworkprogram of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a program thathas recently come under scrutiny.And as we conduct this examination, there are several factorsthat should be considered. To begin with, telework programs, if implemented correctly, serve important purposes. They save taxpayerdollars, strengthen worker satisfaction and productivity, and helpthe environment through reduced traffic congestion.To its credit, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has been atthe forefront of developing and implementing this workplace innovation. And since January 2006, eligible patent examiners havebeen permitted to work from home. In fact, nearly half of all patentexaminers currently participate in the telework program.Considered one of the Nation’s leading government telework programs, it has played a critical role in enabling the Patent andTrademark Office to recruit and retain patent examiners with essential expertise.In fact, the Inspector General of the Department of Commerceissued a report in 2012 documenting the many successes of thePatent and Trademark Office’s telework program. Specifically, theInspector General found that program participants review morepatent applications per year than their nonparticipating counterparts, which has helped, of course, to reduce the backlog of patentapplications.The Inspector General also found that the program results incost savings because of reduced need for office space, which savesAmerican taxpayers about 20 million each year, according to thePatent and Trademark Office. This, in turn, allows the office to invest more resources in modernizing its information technology systems and offer better training for its patent examiners.Nevertheless, recent reports of abuse regarding time and attendance by patent examiners participating in this telework programmust be taken seriously. It appears that some patent examinerswere paid for not working, which is a fraud against taxpayers.In addition, the Inspector General recently reported that the Patent and Trademark Office paid teleworking paralegals in the Patent Trial and Appeal Board for work they didn’t even perform. Together, these reports raise serious concerns about the effectivenessof the office’s management and workplace policies.To maintain the integrity of the telework program, the Patentand Trademark Office must verify the extent of the abuse and undertake immediate action to hold accountable those who committedthe fraud. Doing so will send a clear signal that abuse of time andattendance will not be tolerated.

5I hope our witnesses discuss other ways to root out abuse andwhether such abuse has impacted patent examination quality andpatent application backlog. And, finally, we must ensure that thePatent and Trademark Office has the tools to prevent furtherabuse.Following the reports of these problems to the Office of InspectorGeneral, the office determined that it lacked sufficient controls toassess the extent of abuse. Such a lack of internal controls raisescritical concerns. Fortunately, the office’s investigators made several constructive recommendations regarding this problem.And, Mr. Chairman, that concludes my statement. I yield backthe balance of my time and really warmly recognize the witnessesassembled here today for this hearing.Thank you.Chairman ISSA [presiding]. Thank you.Thank you, Mr. Conyers.I now will recognize myself for a short opening statement.First of all, I would like to thank Chairman Goodlatte and all theMembers here today. It is unusual to have a joint hearing. But thishearing is, in fact, essential that it be joint.The jurisdiction of the Judiciary Committee over the sanctity ofpatents, the accuracy, and, in fact, the interest of this Committeeto end a backlog that denies inventors any benefit from their applications for longer and longer periods of time—and make no doubtabout it.A 600,000-plus patent backlog is costing the American economyand entrepreneurs far greater than the fees that have been paid bythese companies and individuals that are, in fact, in some cases,being misspent by individuals who do not do their full job.The Patent and Trademark Office does have a responsibility tofoster innovation, enabling entrepreneurs and inspiring Americansand non-Americans to enjoy the so-called American dream. I amproud to have worked with this Agency both as an applicant andas a Member of Congress.On the screen, I have asked to have my historic work, some ofthe many patents that I was granted during my time in privatelife. Whether it is my patents, my trademarks, or even my copyrights, I understand that it is a handshake arrangement with theGovernment.We pay for the application. We pay the salaries of every employee at the PTO because, in fact, we pay all of the costs of thePTO. And, in some cases, historically, even money is siphoned offfrom those fees to the general revenue. And this Committee hasdone yeoman’s work to stop that.But the fact is the applicant is paying for a service and, if thatservice is delayed under modern patent law, every day an applicantis denied their claim is a day they cannot enforce their patent.PTO employee telework program has been highly regarded andoften touted as a model of telework programs across the FederalGovernment. Recent revelations make it clear it should not havebeen touted.It is recognized that, among other problems, managers have beendenied the ability to verify whether the Federal worker is doingtheir job at all. Make no doubt about it, that cannot continue.

6It was after receiving anonymous whistleblower complaints regarding employee abuse of the telework program at the PTO thatthe Inspector General present here today referred these allegationsto the PTO for internal review and requested the PTO supply results to the IG. That is one of our challenges, and that is, in fact,the IG did not, in the ordinary course, do the audit.I would like at this time to ask unanimous consent that both thelong version, the 32 pages, and the short version, the 16-page report, be placed in the record.Without objections, so ordered.*When the report came back to the IG, it contrasted with the tworeports I just mentioned, a long report that outlined serious flawsin the process, including, as I said, managers saying they did nothave the tools 43 or 44 percent of the time to evaluate whether ornot the work was being done.Sadly, in the 16-page filtered report, this was paired down towhere it said, ‘‘Some said they did. Some said they didn’t.’’ Thatis not acceptable. We all understand that, if nearly half of all managers say they don’t have the tools, then, in fact, the tools are certainly not available to them.The leaked internal 32-page report suggests that problems at thePTO may have been far deeper and, at least to this Member, mayhave been sanitized in the 16-page report. The 32-page report included stronger guidance to correct the abuses. Unfortunately,many of these recommendations were watered down or filtered outof the report provided to the Office of Inspector General.Not only is this problematic for the purpose of good governance,but it is an abuse that jeopardizes the quality of PTO work and,in fact, makes us question whether or not any agency ever can, infact, be assigned internal review by an Inspector General again.Time and attendance records must be carefully monitored at thetime when 600,000 applicants are still backlogged and the numberof patent applications increase by 5 percent each year. The successof our inventors and the economy demands no less.Practices by the PTO employees with names like ‘‘end-loading’’and ‘‘mortgaging’’ are scams against fee-paying applicants and donothing to benefit the quality of the examiner’s work. And the 32page internal report found that, of managers interviewed, 77 percent felt they have one or more employees who engage in end-loading, which is waiting till the last minute to complete work on theirquotas.Later we will see graphs of spikes that show a dramatic increaseat the end of the time. As, in fact, a historic fee-paying applicant,I can tell you one thing. Some of that is waiting till the end anddusting off final work. And I can accept some of that. But clearlythere is an irresistible incentive at the end of a quarter to getsomething off your desk that often means that what you get is arejection with a vague statement that you have to overcome.Their rejection takes only a few moments, but it can cost youthousands or tens of thousands of dollars to simply say, ‘‘You didn’tget it right. You didn’t look at the detail.’’ You were simply tryingto get it off your desk.*See Appendix for submitted material.

7These and other abuses by this Committee cannot be tolerated.And the inability of managers to know whether or not the workersare actually performing the work cannot be tolerated by the Committee on Oversight.So together I am thrilled to hear from our witnesses today.And I now take the pleasure to yield to my co-partner in this,the gentleman from Maryland, Mr. Cummings.Mr. CUMMINGS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.I was, first of all, pleased that you and Mr. Goodlatte and certainly Mr. Conyers have called this hearing today.Unfortunately, we found out that we could not have one of ourexperts in the Congress, Mr. Connolly, to be a part of the panelwithout giving up one of our minority witnesses. So, therefore, I amgoing to yield my time to him. He has worked very, very hard onthis issue, spent his blood, sweat, and tears. And so, therefore, Iyield my time to him.Mr. CONNOLLY. I thank my friend from Maryland, and I thankhim for his graciousness.Today’s hearing examines the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which Congress has entrusted with a critical missionof turning the words of the copyright clause of the United StatesConstitution into a living reality for thousands of American inventors and entrepreneurs.PTO is a unique user-fee-supported agency that relies on zerotaxpayer dollars to fund operations, minimizes Federal real property and utility costs, and is fundamentally performance-based inthat the organization strives to use real quantitative outcomemetrics to measure productivity and incentivize better performancefrom its patent professionals.PTO has long prided itself on being a result-driven agency thatholds its patent examiners to strict quota requirements. Indeed, itdoes have much to be proud of, particularly its performance in fiscal year 2014, when it is anticipated that PTO’s core of 8,500 patent professionals will act on more than 600,000 patent applicationsand issue more than 300,000 new patents.As one of our witnesses will testify today, 2014 is likely to bePTO’s most productive year in its 224-year history. However, thatis not why we convened today’s hearing.We are here to examine a cloud that threatens to overshadowand undermine much of the positive work cited above. The irresponsible abuse of user fees by a certain subset of examiners who,in the process of committing time card fraud, being unresponsiveto patent applicants, and submitting incomplete work not onlywastes applicants’ dollars, but dishonor and insult the vast majority of dedicated and hard-working PTO employees.Let me be crystal clear. The isolated, though outrageous, anecdotal reports of abuse transcend partisanship and concern everymember of this staff. Significantly, the most outrage and anger Ihave personally encountered toward the time and attendance abusehas been levied by PTO workers themselves who greatly resentworking long hours to meet stringent performance standards onlyto have their own collective reputations dragged through the mudby a small minority of cheaters and bad apples.

8It is incumbent upon all of us on behalf of PTO’s critical constitutional mandate and the thousands of hard-working civil servantswho are working hard and playing by the rules every day that wework with PTO to ensure it has effective systems in place to rootout and hold accountable those few examiners who would threatenthe reputation of everyone.It is also important that we not oversimplify matters or do moreharm than good by overreacting to isolated incidents with bureaucratic, one-size-fits-all solutions, for the reality is that the majorchallenges facing PTO are neither simple nor easy to overcome.My hope is today’s hearing will move beyond addressing symptoms related to telework to focus on the fundamental PTO problems related to insufficient performance metrics that may be subject to gaming and managers who are stuck in an antiquated ‘‘IfI can’t see you, you must not be working.’’The bottom line is that it is striking how the most concerning aspects of this hearing—issues related to balancing the need for quality and quantity and questions over whether the correct incentivesare being set—have actually little to do with telework, per se.These are issues that would face the Agency and, indeed, havefaced the Agency whether all of its work is receded in cubicles orworking from home or remote locations.It is important to remember the PTO institut

ments to the paralegal program and it was evaluating ways to eliminate their underutilization and revise the way their perform-ance is measured. To date, though, there doesn’t appear to be any effort at the Agency to recalculate the bonuses paid during this pe-