I put in a ten-hour day today assisting with objective review panels. Large Nameless Agency awards significant amounts of money annually to various nonprofits and state and local government agencies for use on projects that advance the overall science-based mission of LNA. These are important projects with some fairly hefty budgets so it's vital the applications get a thoughtful and thorough review.
Well, today those of us who take this responsibility seriously got to suffer because a fair number of reviewers decided to just blow the whole process off. They didn't bother to show up at their assigned time to spend 20 minutes to an hour discussing why any particular application should or should not be approved, didn't bother to contact the panel organizers to let them know they couldn't be there, and of course never submitted the electronic copies of their reviews so the chair could have served as proxy and read their comments. LNA requires each application to have a minimum number of reviewers actively involved in the discussion, either in person or via conference call, so when someone didn't show, that meant we all had to sit and wait while the panel organizers went and literally knocked on office doors and stuck their heads into cubicles looking for a volunteer to serve as a last minute substitute. That sub wouldn't have had a chance to read the application in depth, but (at least in theory) could still ask intelligent questions of the reviewers who had.
Thanks to the shirkers, the panel review schedule got hopelessly off track, the day went on and on, and I'm willing to bet everyone who was there for the entire day now has the names of the slackers indelibly engraved in their memory. I know I do.
I also know that the supervisors of the shirkers are going to be hearing from the panel organizers. Participating in these reviews is an agency-wide requirement, so everyone who blew it off may have also just kissed their "above average" performance rating good-bye. I can hope. . .
(I was also rather disgusted with the reviewers who did show, but didn't follow the instructions -- e.g., failed to bring a hard copy of their review to give to the recorder or made continual references to things they had been told to ignore in scoring -- but that's a different rant.)