From today’s verbatim item in the Washington Post. Personally, I feel safer already:
Fred Schwien, the Department of Homeland Security’s executive secretary, has sent out a new manual for correspondence standards and procedures, a portion of which follows:
4.3 Statement of Lateness (Note: Not in use until on or about Feb 1, 2006)
If a component response does not meet the five-day deadline for returning correspondence to the ES, a statement of lateness is required. The memorandum should be addressed through the component head to the Secretary or Deputy Secretary as appropriate, and signed at the office director level (normally the first Senior Executive Service level official in the chain of command). Proposed responses will not be accepted without the Statement of Lateness if the deadline has not been met and a valid extension has not been granted. At times, however, there are legitimate reasons for a response being delayed, e.g., a major decision affecting the response is about to be announced or the information simply not available. Workload and component priorities are not valid excuses. As stated previously, for the DHS employee tasked with preparing an item for the Secretary or Deputy Secretary signature, there are few, if any, higher priorities.