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Letters to the Editor, Dec. 3

Dec. 2, 2012 - 01:25PM   |  
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Value in Aeron chair

The Nov. 5 article “Extra year-end money means spending spree for Air Force” attempts to use Herman Miller’s Aeron chair as a prime example of the purported year-end spending practices of some in the military. While I can’t speak to the larger budget management issues the article is attempting to address, I take exception to the use of the Aeron chair as an example of overspending (the only one pictured for the article) and the inaccurate information you cited related to the chair’s pricing.

The Aeron chair is recognized as an outstanding office chair design, having pioneered many advances in comfort and performance while earning millions of loyal customers around the world. In addition to delivering great ergonomics that support enhanced productivity, the chair is made in the USA (Michigan) and is backed by a 12-year, 365-day/24-hour use warranty on all parts and labor.

The federal government and its agencies, by General Services Administration contract, are typically purchasing this great product, in its standard configuration, for well under $500 — or something more like half of the $850 you incorrectly reference.

Given that a good chair is a vital piece of equipment in a modern office, and the Aeron delivers superior performance and quality, and the feds are buying it at prices comparable to much inferior (and often foreign-made) competitive products, I respectfully suggest you made a poor choice in trying to highlight wasteful spending.

— Mark Schurman, director, corporate communications, Herman Miller Inc.

CFC food giveaways

Regarding the Oct. 29 article “Rules banning food giveaways frustrate some campaigns,” on the Office of Personnel Management’s ban on food giveaways at Combined Federal Campaign events:

I congratulate OPM on its decision. If people are not giving to CFC because free hot dogs and chips are not available, shame on them!

However, I think OPM’s policy is a red herring. It is more likely people are not supporting CFC for other reasons. I can think of several.

CFC is integrally linked to United Way. In some areas, it serves as the campaign manager and fiduciary. Several United Way chapters are not supporting the Boy Scouts, an organization supported by many federal employees. The Christian Science Monitor provides an annual salary chart for nonprofit executives. Perhaps people read it and decide they no longer want to support organizations that pay their executives six- and seven-figure salaries? Perhaps the fact that federal employees have had their salaries frozen for a few years may impact their ability (or desire) to be generous as in the past? Perhaps people would rather give directly to the charities of their choice and save the 10 percent “overhead” of the CFC?

— K. Finkenbinder, Bloserville, Pa.

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