Law Library News
April 3, 2006.
Sponsored annually by the American Library Association since 1958, National Library Week celebrates our nationís libraries by promoting the use and support of all types of libraries Ė academic, public, corporate, etc. This year, National Library Week takes place April 2-8 and the Gallagher Law Library is taking part in the celebration with the following activities.
Visit the Library and take a look at our posters and profiles for select faculty members. Find out what their favorite books are, what their toughest law school courses were, their childhood ambitions, and more! The photos and profiles also will be posted on the Law Library website.
Pick up the puzzle at the Circulation Desk and submit your answers by 5:00 PM on Friday, April 7. Correctly completed puzzles will be put in a drawing for two $10 gift certificates to the University Bookstore. If no puzzles are completed correctly, those that are completed at least half correctly will be entered into the drawing.
Guess the number of M&Ms in a glass jar! The candy jar and entry forms will be at the Circulation Desk until 5:00 PM on Friday, April 7. The person who guesses closest to the exact number wins the jar and all of the candy.
The Library also will provide free candy all week (or until supply runs out) in the Law Student Lounge and Reference Office.
Test your knowledge of diplomatic, official, and social protocol. Pick up a trivia contest entry form in the Reference Office and return your answers by Friday, April 7 for a chance to win small prizes!
The filing deadline is approaching fast. Although we canít fill out your tax forms for you, we can certainly help you locate the forms youíre looking for Ė visit the Reference Office, call 543-6794, or check out our guide at http://lib.law.washington.edu/ref/taxforms.html.
by Mary Whisner
Charles O. Rossotti, Many Unhappy Returns: One Manís Quest to Turn Around the Most Unpopular Organization in America (HJ2361 .R667 2005 at Classified Stacks).
After a successful career in business, Charles Rossotti agreed to take the top spot at the Internal Revenue Service at a time when its approval rating was at an all-time low, congressional hearings were exposing terrible mishandling of taxpayers, and the agency was limping along with outdated technology. In Many Unhappy Returns, he recounts his experiences during the five years he served as the IRS commissioner (1997-2002). One commissioner said of the job: "The hours are impossible, the pay is lousy Ė but you get lots of abuse." (p.42) Nonetheless, Rossotti kept at it and turned the agency around.
Rossotti describes several incidents where people youíd expect to be knowledgeable about the agency (e.g., tax lawyers or accountants) were astonished at some aspect of the IRSís internal workings. To communicate the need for modernization to skeptical Congressional and Treasury staffers, he rented a bus and took them first to a credit card call center in Wilmington (highly computerized, efficient) and then to the IRS service center in Philadelphia (cramped spaces; employees referring to computer, paper manual, and hand-held calculator Ė and the computer database was only updated weekly while the paper manuals often didnít reflect the latest changes in the code or the regs). "An observer did not require a degree in computer science to see why taxpayers who called MBNA in the morning and the IRS in the afternoon were likely to be disappointed by the IRS, no matter how hard the agency employees tried." (p. 200)
This book is not just for tax specialists. Many Unhappy Returns is published by the Harvard Business School Press (in partnership with the Kennedy School of Government) as part of a series exploring the role of leaders in business, government, and society. Even though the IRS is distinctive in many regards, many of the lessons Rossotti sketches are applicable to other organizations. Itís an interesting peek at an administrative agencyís workings from the inside. It offers an interesting perspective on congressional oversight, legislation, and working with the presidentís administration. (Note that he served under both President Clinton and President Bush.)