I have a new piece on Government Executive’s website addressing civil service reform and ways we can make it happen:
Absent real reform, the future of the civil service is bleak. The workforce is aging and the government is not the first choice of employers for many recent graduates. Pay was frozen for three years and no one can agree on whether federal pay is too high, too low or just right. Federal workers have endured shutdowns and being used as a political football by their enemies and friends alike. Some politicians have no problem calling federal law enforcement officers “thugs” and Transportation Security Officers “molesters.” It is enough to make the term “bureaucrat” sound like a compliment….
Read the rest of the article on Govexec.com
This is Public Service Recognition Week. Celebrated the first week of May for almost 30 years, it provides an opportunity to recognize the contributions of America’s public servants at all levels of government. I want to thank all of our public servants at all levels of government and give special thanks this week to those public servants who work in the Federal government.
Our political discourse in recent years has tended to diminish rather than celebrate the accomplishments of public servants at the Federal level. Instead of thanking them for their contributions, Federal employees have been used as a proxy for fights over the size and reach of the government. This week – for at least one short week – let’s stop and say thank you to the more than 2,000,000 public servants who guard our borders, support our troops, protect our environment, provide benefits to veterans, the disadvantaged, children and senior citizens, and perform countless other jobs that are necessary for the operation of the government of the most powerful nation in the world. Regardless of what you might hear, public servants serve the people – they do not serve the politicians. I have worked for the Federal government during changes of Administrations from one party to the other, and every time the public servants supported the new President and his Administration and did their part to ensure the smooth transition of power that characterizes our democracy. It doesn’t matter if the public servant is a Democrat, Republican, Independent or some other party – they put their personal political views aside and do their job.
I wish we could all agree to do the same with respect to public servants. Let’s put aside our personal views of government – whether it is too big, too small, too intrusive, not intrusive enough, or just right – and recognize that the men and women of the Federal government are simply public servants doing the people’s work. They do not ask for honor, glory, attention or riches. They do ask for, and deserve, our respect and thanks for the work they do on our behalf every day. Countless public servants have spent years in service to our great country. Many have given their all, and some gave their lives in service to America. So for this one week, let’s put aside partisanship, politics and bickering among ourselves to say thank you.
To our public servants – thank you for your service, thank you for your efforts on behalf of the American people, and thank you for all you have done and continue to do as American Public Servants.