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As the original poster of this message, thanks to all who gave advice. Two good ideas you gave me:

1) have previous managers sign complimentary letters for you that you write and

2) keep or get copies of evaluations.

In this case due to a Federal job requirements, I finally gave a copy of my last evaluation as a "manager reference," but the HR still insisted on talking to 3 other co-worker type references.

My last job apparently has a policy of not saying anything regardless of your job performance since they could get sued. Plus there was never any written evaluations for anyone - a lousy situation all around.

I don't understand why they would choose not to give a positive reference, but I guess doing that would be a slippery slope.

Anyway, the process with the federal gov't has been delayed for a month down due to their requirement of checking references and I expect to hear a response this week.

thanks for all your help.
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