You Didn’t Get the Job… Now What?

frowny-face-illustraties_421989One question I get a lot is “What do I do when they select someone else for my dream job?” It is a great question. We often set our sights on a goal, thinking if we get that one job we will be where we want to be. Goals can help focus attention, provide insight into what we need to do to advance, and give career moves some purpose. When everything works out, it’s great.

I can say from personal experience that it does not always work out. How we react when the dream job does not materialize is just as important as the preparation that gets us to that point. In my case, I wanted to be the HR Director for the Defense Logistics Agency. It is a great agency and I had worked there for 5 years as a GS-14 and GS-15. When the HR Director position became available, I eagerly applied. I made the best qualified list, was interviewed twice, and waited for the decision. They selected someone else who was already an SES in another agency. Needless to say, I was crushed.

Like anyone else who does not get selected, I was faced with a choice. I could complain. I could grieve. I could pout, or I could do take action to make my own opportunities. I chose the latter. Within a few months, I was selected for another SES position as the Deputy HR Director for the Department of Commerce. It was the first time in my career I had worked outside the Department of Defense. I learned a lot about the world of civilian agencies, worked with a number of high-ranking political appointees, and learned how to make things happen in a highly political environment. For the first time, I got exposure to the Hill. The experience I gained in that position made me a far better candidate for the dream job as DLA HR Director, which I was offered 2 years later. I served in that role for 9 years, then went on to be offered a political appointment as Chief Human Capital Officer for the Department of Homeland Security.

If I had gotten what I wanted originally, I most likely would not have been as effective at DLA and I would never have been selected for the DHS position. That is why I always offer the same advice when people are turned down for a job they really want. It is not the only job for you. Take advantage of the situation and keep moving. Much like water flowing into an obstacle, go around it and look for the next opportunity. It will almost certainly be there. There is nothing to be gained from holding a grudge, whining, or lashing out at the people around you. In my case, my experience brought me back to the job I had wanted, and then on to something even bigger. Every time I have had a major career disappointment, the result has been the same. I found something better. I learned and I grew. Anyone else can do the same.

You’re Fired! and Other Federal Management Fantasies

imageWith Agency Heads, members of Congress, pundits and others continuing to press the issue of making it easier to fire Federal workers (and thinking it will actually make a difference), I decided to rerun a post from last year. Nothing has changed and these proposals are not going to produce the kinds of benefits most people expect from them.

The recent news about the Department of Veterans Affairs has generated a lot of talk about performance – lack of it, failure to deal with problems, rating inflation, and so on. During a June 20th hearing of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, the VA revealed that none of its Senior Executives had gotten a rating below fully successful in the past 4 years. While that may seem shocking, the VA is not that out of the ordinary. Sub-par ratings for SES members are not common and firing them is even less common. Firing anyone in a management job is rare. There are a lot of reasons for that, including a selection process that weeds out unqualified applicants long before they could be selected and a lack of will to deal with problem employees.

The raw numbers of removals for employees below the SES level are higher, but overall there are not large numbers of supervisors and managers who get less than fully successful ratings.

The overall number of permanent Federal employees who have been fired in recent years is not large. A recent article in Federal Times cited numbers of 11,564 in FY 2009, 11,733 in FY 2010, 10,373 in FY 2011, 9,980 in FY 2012 and 9,513 in FY 2013. That ranges from a high of 0.57% of Federal employees fired in 2009 to a low of 0.46% in FY 2013. Those numbers may actually be a bit higher than true number of people fired for poor performance or misconduct, because they include people who were terminated because their appointments expired and for other reasons.

The Federal Times article points out the higher numbers of people fired from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA is exempt from most Federal employment laws as a result of authority it has in Section 111(d) of the aviation and Transportation Security Act) and the higher numbers of people at lower grades (particularly GS-5) who are fired. The high number of GS-5s is not surprising. More people enter Federal service at the GS-5 level than any other grade and, as new employees, they are much more likely to be let go. GS-5s also represent the largest number of resignations of any grade.

Federal Employee Terminations and Removals FY2009 – FY 2013

The raw number of SES terminations and removals is very low:

Senior Executive Service Removals and Terminations FY 2009 – FY 2013

Federal Times noted that lower graded employees are fired at a much higher rate than higher grades. What is not often mentioned is that SES members are fired at the same or higher rate than GS-14s and GS-15s. In fact, the FY 2012 SES firing rate was almost twice that of GS-15s and one-third more than the rate of GS-14s. In 2012, 7 of 7,815 SES (.09%) were fired for performance or misconduct, while 28 of 59,216 GS-15s (.05%) and 86 of 119,507 GS-14s (.07%) were fired.

Firing rates for higher grades are most likely lower because those employees have been screened repeatedly as they have moved up through the grades. Another factor may be the familiarity that more senior people have with one another. Firing anyone is hard, but it is easier to fire someone you don’t know as well. Firing the people you work most closely with every day is much harder.

All these numbers about firing lead to the question – why aren’t more people being fired if we want to make government better? A June 24 Government Executive article on a a House/Senate conference committee was headlined “VA Conferees Agree on One Thing: Fire More Bureaucrats.” Wouldn’t it be better if we give managers the ability to fire people much more easily so they can clear out the deadwood? Wouldn’t that lead to a general housecleaning that would make government far more effective? Shouldn’t government fire people at a rate similar to the private sector?

In a word, no.

The simple idea that it should be easier to fire people sounds good in theory. If we let good managers make good management decisions about letting poor performers go they will get rid of the poor performers. Like many simple ideas, that one is too simple. The real world is a bit more complex. Here are just a few of those complexities:

  • The simple view assumes managers will manage. This post started with the story about every SES member in the Department of Veterans Affairs getting a fully satisfactory or better rating. The numbers are not a lot better in other agencies. Most managers who talk about how hard it is to fire people have never tried to fire anyone. Keep in mind that MSPB’s 2005 report, The Probationary Period: A Critical Assessment Opportunity, MSPB reports that 1.6% of competitive service employees are removed from their jobs during their probationary period. Those are employees who can be fired easily and have little avenue of appeal. Firing them doesn’t require a lot of documentation or time. Firing probationary employees is as simple as it gets, yet only 1.6% of them are fired every year. Why should we believe a quick and easy process for firing everyone else would have different results?
  • The simple view assumes Federal employees who cannot perform are the reason for many of government’s problems. In that scenario, there are tens or hundreds of thousands of employees who contribute nothing and wiping out large numbers of them will make government better. That view doesn’t assign the blame for government’s biggest problems to the people and cultures that are actually responsible for them. Federal employees do not cause duplication of services across agencies. They don’t cause money to be appropriated for wasteful projects. They do not cause most of the problems of the federal government. For the most part, the ability of anyone other than the most senior employees to dramatically change anything is next to non-existent. By shifting the focus to them, we lose focus on the bigger systemic problems our government faces and guarantee we will never deal with the underlying causes. Are there poor performers in government? Yes. Is the number massive? No. Will rolling a few heads distract attention from the bigger problems? Absolutely.
  • The simple view also assumes those managers who do have the backbone to deal with poor performers will deal only with poor performers and not the people they do not like for personal or political reasons. The federal civil service was designed to protect government workers and the American people from a government spoils system and the toxic results it produced in the past. The great champion of the civil service, President Theodore Roosevelt, said “The spoils-monger and spoils-seeker invariably breed the bribe-taker and bribes-giver, the embezzler of public funds and the corrupter of voters.” President Roosevelt was right. “Reforms” that would lead us back to a spoils system would do far more damage to the interests of the American people than any harm that can be done by a ten or twenty or thirty thousand people who do not perform.
  • The simple view assumes performance is an individual accomplishment. I have worked 33 years in government and 6 years in the private sector. During all of that time I have seen very few accomplishments that are the result of just one person’s actions. Virtually all good results come from teams of people working together.  Most bad results are failures of a team or an organization. They fail to deal with systemic problems. They fail to provide training for their employees. They fail to provide the technology that would enable success. They fail to create a culture that gets good results. Yet, when they have a failure, they always seem to default to finding someone to blame so they do not have to accept the fact that they might be part of the problem too.

We seem to have reached a point where the solution to a problem is to hunt down the offending party and say “You’re fired!” Maybe it makes us feel better to think we made someone pay for their failure. While we would be better off if we dealt effectively with poor performance, the truth is that government is so complex, cultural norms in agencies are so powerful, and our political process is so broken, that there is rarely a single person or even a small group of people who are truly responsible. If we want to make government better, we need to deal with cultural issues that drive the kind of problems we have seen at the Department of Veterans Affairs. We need to deal with the political dysfunction that can make Congressional oversight more of a sideshow than the powerful tool it was designed to be. We need to deal with the lack of training for Federal managers that would help equip them to deal with problem employees and problem organizations. We need to deal with the unresolved questions of the scope and reach of government. None of those are easy. None are likely to be completed within a daily news cycle, and none of them give someone the satisfaction of finding someone to blame and firing that person. But – if we want to make our government better, they are what we have to do.

 

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Death by a Thousand Cuts or Improving the Civil Service?

cutThere are a lot of proposals to floating around Washington, DC that purport to be solely for cost savings or making government more efficient. Government Executive has a great article that summarizes many of the cuts proposed in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Those cuts, along with changes to Senior Executive Service (and other employee) tenure, proposals to eliminate “official time” for union activities, and other “reforms” can be viewed in a lot of ways.

Taken at face value, we can assume they are intended to reduce the cost of the Federal work force at a time when budgets are tight. The logic is simple – government is big and expensive, the economy is not firing on all cylinders, and government needs to make itself less costly. Sounds simple and good for the country.

If there is anything I have learned in 25 years in this town, it is that we must always look beyond the title of a Bill and the stated purpose to see what additional consequences (unintended or deliberate) might result if the Bill becomes law. These Civil Service changes could have a lot of consequences, many of them very, very bad. Let’s take a look at a few of them and see where they might lead:

  • Downsize the government through attrition with a 1 for 3 hiring freeze. This proposal would allow most agencies to hire 1 employee for every 3 that leave. Proposals similar to this have been around for years. They assume that either (a) the government is so inefficient that it can absorb a massive cut in staffing and still get its work done, (b) Government is doing too much and the cuts will force them to do less, or (c) the work can be shifted from the government to the private sector. There are several problems with this approach. First, it allows cuts to be driven by who leaves rather than a plan. Second, if government is that inefficient, it will not magically become efficient when a lot of people are not replaced. It will just become even less effective. Third, if government is doing too much, Congress should take the lead and identify which programs they want to cut, rather than allowing turnover to drive it. The likely result of this type of cut is messy and likely to result in savings but no improvements. Fourth, if the work is going to be transferred to industry, we will see savings on the payroll line, but increases in the contract line. The result is no savings, just an illusion of a smaller government.
  • Cut Federal retirement benefits by increasing employee contributions to retirement plans, going to a high-5 rather than high-3 retirement formula, and reducing the interest rate on the “G Fund” in the Thrift Savings Plan. This one follows the trend in the private sector of leaving retirement in the hands of employees and their 401(k), TSP or similar retirement funds. At some point in the next few years we are likely to see the defined benefit portion of federal retirement phased out. The interim step of raising employee contributions is a first step, as is the change to a high-5 formula. I believe the government should be a model employer and model employers do more for their employees, but the truth is I do not think it will make a big difference in the number of people who apply for Federal jobs. Any kind of defined benefit (pension) plan is increasingly rare, so what the government has in FERS is far ahead of most employers. The part that concerns me most is reducing the return on the G Fund. Although it does not have a high return, it is where many employees and retirees put their TSP money. Currently about 43% of the $436 billion Federal employees have invested in TSP in in the G Fund. Cutting the return is likely to have a detrimental effect on a great many employees and retirees. It will push more retirees to move their money out of TSP and into Individual Retirement Accounts. It may also reduce the amount of money active employees contribute to TSP. Both of those are bad and the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board is opposed to the proposal. If it is likely that the defined benefit plan in FERS will eventually be phased out, anything that hurts the TSP will have a big impact on employees and retirees.
  • Reduce due process for Federal employees. Proposals to make it easier to fire Senior Executive Service members are only the beginning. If they are successful, the next step will be to make it easier to fire any Federal employee. Such proposals are popular. Many outside government believe Federal employment is a lifetime arrangement. In February the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that only 3,500 (0.18%) of 2 million Federal employees were fired in 2013. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that just over 3% of private sector employees are fired every year. The Federal government should have an easier way of dealing with performance and misconduct, but making wholesale firings possible is not the answer. We have all seen how quickly people in power look for scapegoats when something goes wrong, rather than fixing the underlying problems. We also have a long history in government that shows what happens when Civil Service protections do not exist. The spoils system that existed before the Pendleton Act did not serve the people well. Allowing managers to fire anyone they want with little recourse would cause the Civl Service to quickly revert to a spoils system. Given a choice of the extremes of few firings or a spoils system, I believe the current system is better for the American people. A simpler process for dealing with poor performance and misconduct, coupled with a more effective and efficient appeals process and better trained supervisors would go a long way toward solving this problem without gutting the Civil Service.
  • Cut the pay of every employee making $100K or more. This proposal is not being taken seriously by many people in Congress. The simple fact is that many Federal jobs involve very complex work that demands salaries of $100K or more. Pushing thousands of the highest performers at middle and high grades out by cutting their pay would devastate many agencies.
  • Eliminate “official time” for union representatives. The idea behind this one is that union representatives do “union work” of the taxpayer’s nickel. For the most part, that is a mischaracterization of what happens. Official time is for representational work, not for union business. Most collective bargaining agreements explicitly prohibit use of official time for internal union business. Much of what is allowed for union representatives is also allowed for personal representatives in EEO complaints and administrative grievance procedures. While there is some abuse of official time, for the most part it serves an agency’s interests to have it. The types of activities performed on official time include (example from the contract between AFGE and the Defense Logistics Agency)  (1) negotiations over the impact and/or implementation of changes in conditions of employment of bargaining unit employees (2) participation in formal discussions, (3) investigation, preparation, filing and processing grievances in accordance with the Negotiated Grievance Procedure, (4) preparation for and attendance at management-initiated meetings, (5) participation on committees or panels, (6) preparation for and participation in proceedings before the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) and (7) assisting an employee, when designated as their representative, in preparing a response to a proposed disciplinary or adverse action. The cost of official time is hard to pin down, but it is less than the cost of Administrative Leave identified by GAO. With morale falling every year, eliminating the ability of employees to have a representative is not going to help and is likely to make morale even worse.

Federal employees have already contributed billions of dollars to deficit reduction through pay freezes and retirement cuts. If we really want to reduce the cost of government, we need a serious discussion about what government does and how it is organized. Reducing duplication of functions and missions, consolidating agencies and deciding what services government should no longer provide is a far more effective long-term strategy than whacking the pay and benefits of Federal workers. It is also much harder and will score far fewer political points, making it much less likely to happen.

Congress Proposes Act to Honor Federal Workers, Promises to Stop Attacking Feds

april1calendarA bi-partisan group of Senators and Representatives today announced they are proposing a Bill to honor Federal workers on a series of postage stamps, posters in Federal buildings, and television commercials. The Bill also includes provisions for a generous pay raise of 15%, rollback of the retirement contribution increases, and a pledge to refrain from public attacks on the work ethic, integrity and motivations of Federal employees. So far 400 House members and 94 Senators have signed on as co-sponsors.

The new Bill – entitled the “Awarding People Representing Integrity, Loyalty, Faith, of our Land Act  of 2015″ (APRIL FOOL 2015), is expected to signed by the President in a gala ceremony on July 4.

Reinventing the Senior Executive Service

SES KeystoneFederal News Radio’s Emily Kopp recently had an excellent series of 4 articles on the Senior Executive Service (SES). Beginning with “It Used to be an Honor, Now it’s a Joke,” they concluded on March 2 with one titled “How to fix the SES: Wipe the slate clean” and were followed by a response from Carol Bonosaro, President of the Senior Executives Association, titled “Do Leaders Have the Stomach for Real SES Reform?” All of these followed a January 2015 report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) – “OPM Needs to Do More to Ensure Meaningful Distinctions Are Made in SES Ratings and Performance Awards.” Just last week, President Obama met with a White House Task Force of two dozen Federal employees who will provide advice to the Administration on how to fix the SES.

I agree with the premise that fixing problems with the SES requires a clean slate, but most ideas I have seen to date would be incremental changes to a system that has never really lived up to what it was touted to be when it was created. People keep talking about needing “bold” ideas to remake the SES, but what I most often hear are “old” ideas.

Let’s be clear, I do not believe the problems we see with the SES  today are the fault of the executives themselves – they are a result of flaws in the original design of the SES. When it was created, the SES was imagined as a mobile cadre of executives who were highly skilled managers. Executive ability was the key requirement, with technical skills in the work being of lesser importance. The SES would have higher pay and bonuses, but would also come with more risk. It did not work out that way.

Since its creation, the SES has gravitated back to operating much like the GS-16/17/18 “Supergrades” that it replaced. In fact, now that some agencies have created 3 “Tiers” for SES jobs, we are closer to the Supergrade structure than we have been at any time since the SES began. Yes – there are executive core qualifications, but there are also technical qualifications that often limit consideration to people doing the same type of work in government already. The pay is not that different from a GS-15, bonuses are under attack and total compensation is not enough to attract executives from the private sector (and increasingly from the ranks of GS-15s). Members of Congress are attacking individual SES members by name, and many in Congress want to make it easier to fire SES members. GAO and others keep focusing on making “meaningful distinctions” in SES performance ratings, when the real focus should be on results. I do not care how many outstanding ratings SES members or rank-and-file employees get. In fact, we should strive for an organization where everyone’s performance is outstanding. If it really is outstanding, that is a success, not a failure.

There are some fundamental flaws in the SES that assure it will always be criticized. Some are fixable, some are not.

  • The perception that SES is a lifetime appointment. Fixable.
  • Pay that fails to attract enough talent from outside or inside government. Fixable.
  • Lack of mobility. Fixable.
  • Performance management process. Fixable.
  • Selecting 90% of SES from within the Agency where the vacancy is located. Fixable.
  • Our hyper-partisan political environment that makes anyone in a senior position, career or otherwise, a target. No matter what we do to make the SES or any other part of the Civil Service better, partisanship is most likely not fixable.

The key to fixing the problems is not tweaking the SES or writing a set of guiding principles that no one will follow (take a look at implementation of the Clinger-Cohen Act to see how that worked out). The bureaucracy will pay little attention to mild tweaks and will take guiding principles and shred them. Trying to radically remake more than 7000 jobs is also not the answer. I believe the key is an entirely new merit-based construct, neither career nor political, that is focused on a much smaller number of critical Federal jobs.

The Public Service Executive Corps

We have to recognize that simply replacing the Supergrades with the SES did not work. If we want real change, real accountability, real mobility, and real movement back and forth between government and the private sector, we need to design a new system that is built from the ground up with those goals in mind. The SES is not that system. That does not mean we should do away with the SES. It should remain in place as the most senior level of career job, pay compression should be addressed (most likely by bringing back locality pay for executives and requiring a minimum percentage pay increase for people being promoted from the General Schedule or comparable pay systems), and political attacks on SES members should stop. Those changes would make the SES more appealing, but would not fundamentally alter its core principles. They also would not bring the kind of sea change in Federal leadership we need in today’s government.

To make that kind of difference, we need something entirely new. I propose that we create a new category of Federal executive position that is designed from the start to be very different from the SES, the General Schedule, and political appointments. By carving a new group from existing SES and political positions, we can create something that is very different and more likely to produce the kind of change we need. It would be a much smaller group that has a greater role in agency management, coupled with better (and risk-based) compensation and a completely different type of tenure.

The new executive cadre (let’s call it the Public Service Executive Corps), would replace those SES positions that today are in the most senior leadership roles. It would replace those political positions such as the Assistant Secretary and other positions that no longer require Senate confirmation and other key positions that require the highest levels of expertise. The number of PSEC positions should be limited to no more than 400 government-wide, replacing 5% of career SES positions and 7% of non-career (political) SES positions. Allocations of the 400 Corps positions would be managed by OMB and OPM and reassessed annually. Other than OPM and OMB, no more than 10% of any agency’s executive positions could be in the Corps. No more than 5% of OMB and OPM executive positions could be in the Corps and no positions in the President’s office could be in the Corps, nor could Corps members be detailed to the White House.

PSEC positions would differ from the current SES in at least 6 key respects:

  1. Tenure. Career SES positions are jobs that have no time limit and have substantial due process requirements for removal. PSEC positions would serve a fixed term (I suggest 5 years), with the ability to be extended for 1 or 2 years. At that point, they must leave the position and would have no guarantee of another comparable role. Corps members could be reassigned to other Corps positions. Corps members could be appointed to a new Corps position and start a new 5-year term, but only in a different agency or department. The move from unlimited tenure to a fixed term provides for continuity, but also eliminates the problem of executives who homestead and never leave. That is not to say every long-term SES is a problem – most are not. But enough are that the problem should be addressed. A 5-year term would allow ample time to have a significant impact on the agency, but not so long that the PSEC member becomes stale. For former political positions that are converted, it is likely that the jobs would become far more stable and eliminate the constant changes of direction that the 18-month average tenure of politicals creates.
  2. Termination. Corps members could be terminated for performance reasons, after being provided 90 days to improve their performance, if the termination is approved by the Agency Head and the OMB Deputy Director for Management. Members terminated based upon performance would receive 6 months severance and have no appeal rights. Corp members could be terminated for misconduct if the termination is approved by the Agency Head and the Director of OPM. Members terminated based upon misconduct would receive no severance and have no appeal rights. No more than 15% of Corps members could be terminated in a fiscal year. That limit is to keep a new Administration from doing wholesale terminations to put their own selectees in place. I am certain some folks will look at this proposal and say severance pay is bad. However, we constantly hear that government should operate more like a business, and using severance packages to ease transitions and avoid litigation is a common business practice. Other folks may say that allowing termination for cause without appeal rights is not fair. That fact is that most people in this country are “at will” employees. I do not support making the SES or rank-and-file employees “at will,” but I do support it for this small group of highly compensated people.
  3. Compensation. Virtually everyone who looks at the SES laments the fact that most SES jobs are filled from within the agency and wonders why we cannot attract people from outside government. One reason is compensation. The idea that we would pay someone $180K a year to manage a workforce of thousands of people and budgets that go into the billions is absurd. Yes – we can appeal to people’s sense of public service, but that is not enough. People in the private sector who make far more than government pay are generally not attracted to the SES. An increasing number of GS-15s are also saying the move to SES is not worth it. All Corps positions would require a multi-year performance agreement in place and approved by the Agency Head or Deputy and OMB prior to appointment. Performance plans would be updated annually. Pay would be set at any level between Executive Level II (currently $183,300) and the Vice President’s salary (currently $230,700), with pay reviewed annually. Corps members would be eligible for a bonus ranging from zero to 50% of pay. Bonuses would require approval of the Agency Head or Deputy and the OMB Deputy Director for Management and would be based upon independently verifiable, demonstrated accomplishments (not just effort) as outlined in the performance agreement.
  4. Appointment and Administration. Current SES positions are filled by individual agencies, with approval by an OPM Qualifications Review Board. PSEC positions would be jointly administered by the employing agency, OPM and OMB, with OPM having oversight of the hiring process and OMB overseeing the performance planning and compensation processes. Selections for PSEC positions would be made by the head of the agency where the position is assigned, approved by the Director of OPM and would be from candidate lists approved by independent panels. By removing control of the selection and compensation process from agencies, we would substantially reduce the parochial approach to selection that results in 90% or more of selections coming from within the agency. We would also have far more objective performance objectives and evaluation, and would base awards on demonstrable results. To ensure the positions do not become a new type of political appointment, citizen panels drawn from industry, non-profits and academia would review and approve the first 200 appointments. Once there were enough PSEC members to allow it, the citizen panels could be replaced with panels of PSEC members.
  5. Mobility as a Condition of Employment. In addition to time limits on their appointments, PSEC members would be subject to assignment to another agency when the needs of the government require their skills elsewhere. In order to encourage retention of Executives who are relocated, appointments would be extended to provide a minimum of at least 3 years tenure after a move is completed. Only one such reassignment would be permitted.
  6. Transparency. Information on terminations would be provided to the House of Representatives and the Senate quarterly. Information on Corps allocations, appointments, performance plans, pay rates, and bonuses would be public information.

I know there is a lot of detail in this proposal and there are many more details that would have to be worked out to make it happen. It is also a big change that would upset a lot of apple carts. The alternative is to continue making changes around the edges of the SES and then to blame the SES members when the system they work in continues to be flawed. That does not make anything better and just kicks the can down the road for a few more years. Is this proposal the only idea that might work? No. Is it a bigger change than what we are likely to get out of the normal political process? Yes. Will it please everyone on the left and right? No.

Regardless of the approach we take, it is time to stop, change direction, and go for a direct challenge to the status quo to make our government work better. That is the least we can do for the Federal workforce and the American people.

 

 

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