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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Part II: Federal Workforce Challenges

Part 2 of Senator Thompson's report on challenges facing the new administration:



This is one in a series of transition reports that describes core capacity problems facing the Federal Government, discusses their nature and root causes, and proposes ways of solving them. The reports are intended to stimulate action on the part of the incoming Administration and Congress, and to provide them a framework for this important task. This report deals with Federal workforce challenges. Other reports address financial management and the need for results-oriented governance at the Federal level.
The Federal Government’s workforce problems have received little attention, although many experts recognize that they are reaching an increasingly critical stage. Most agencies face serious challenges in hiring, retaining, developing, and motivating a workforce with the right skills to achieve their mission results. These problems have been exacerbated in recent years by random ‘‘downsizing’’ that reduced agency staffs without regard to the skills, experience, and performance of departing employees in relation to agency missions. Typically, downsizing was accomplished by ‘‘buyouts’’ and early retirement offers to experienced employees— thereby causing significant ‘‘brain drain.’’ There is mounting evidence that workforce deficiencies at agencies limit their capacity to serve the public and make them more vulnerable to fraud, waste, and mismanagement.
The Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs is responsible for overseeing the government-wide application of the Federal merit system and human resources policies. The current civil service system, a product of the 1978 Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, was created in large part to further standardize some human resource requirements and incorporate into law the merit system principles of fairness, equity, and earned achievement in public employment.
There is broad consensus that this system lacks the flexibility necessary to meet today’s workforce needs. Such flexibility would enable individual workers and their agencies to focus less on conforming to centralized human resource requirements and more on developing human resource policies and practices that support their own mission-related needs.
One expert observed that the current system ‘‘underwhelms at almost every task it undertakes . . . It is slow in the hiring, almost useless in the firing, overly permissive in the promoting, [and] out of touch with actual performance in the rewarding . . .’’ 1 Agencies also suffer from inefficient and wasteful organizational structures with bloated hierarchies and excessive layers of management. Even more fundamentally, the basic civil service model—built around a 30-year career from entry level to retirement with virtually guaranteed job security—does not fit a contemporary workforce that favors greater mobility and has different motivations than in the past.
Strategic workforce planning is essential to the success of private sector organizations. They realize the importance of having employees with the right skills and abilities to accomplish their missions.
However, Federal workforce issues have been neglected for years. The Comptroller General describes workforce management as the ‘‘missing link’’ in efforts to improve the Federal Government’s performance and accountability. The Administration, especially the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), is only now acknowledging the seriousness of the government’s workforce problems. Furthermore, the agency charged with administering the Federal Government’s personnel laws, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), has lacked the requisite leadership from the Administration to address successfully these problems. Most agencies are far behind the curve in addressing these problems. Therefore, the problems require immediate attention and concerted action. The following are a few recommendations to begin to address these problems:
· The Administration must provide much greater leadership in addressing critical workforce problems. In particular, it needs to develop specific remedial plans for which they and the agencies can be held accountable. With this greater leadership, the Administration would encourage OMB and OPM to move away from the status quo and consider personnel reforms in an open and objective way. It is obvious to all that the current system is broken. OPM should become a partner in developing solutions.
· Agencies need to undertake comprehensive workforce planning to: (1) determine their workforce needs in relation to their current functions; (2) assess how their existing workforce compares to their needs; and (3) develop strategies to bridge the gaps between the workforce they need and the one they have.
· In accordance with OMB guidance, agencies should establish Results Act performance goals and measures to address their most serious workforce problems and thereby assume accountability for solving them. Agencies should start with problems that lend themselves to immediate action such as improving recruitment practices and linking employee performance appraisals to performance results. (See below.)
· OPM should ensure that agencies’ program managers fully understand and use the many personnel flexibilities that are now available to them under current laws and regulations. As noted above, OPM also should help develop changes to current laws and regulations to ensure that agencies can effectively obtain and manage the workforces they need to achieve their mission results.
· Agencies should directly link performance assessments and rewards for agency managers to the agency’s performance results. Steps should be taken as well to ensure that all agency employees are accountable for their performance and are rewarded based on their performance.
· Agencies should take immediate action to reduce recruiting and hiring delays and provide better feedback to job applicants. The foregoing recommendations are just a start toward resolving the Federal Government’s critical workforce problems. Additional recommendations are sure to emerge if these long neglected problems get the attention they clearly require.

No longer a ‘‘quiet crisis.’’ For some time now, experts have referred to a ‘‘quiet crisis’’ in the Federal public service. Clearly, the workforce problems confronting the Federal Government have reached an even more critical stage in recent years. A workforce capable of conducting the Federal Government’s business is crucial to the effective implementation of government policies. One leading expert, Paul C. Light of The Brookings Institution, observed: Ultimately, effective governance is impossible if government cannot attract talented citizens to serve at all levels of the hierarchy. As Alexander Hamilton warned 200 years ago in The Federalist Papers, ‘‘a government ill executed, whatever it may be in theory, must be in practice a bad government.’’ Citizens cannot have confidence in the integrity of the democratic process if their leaders cannot honor the promises they make, but those leaders cannot honor the promises they make if government cannot attract the talent necessary to both draft and execute the laws. 2
Paul Light paints a bleak picture of a current Federal personnel system ‘‘that underwhelms at almost every task it undertakes.’’
It is slow in the hiring, almost useless in the firing, overly permissive in the promoting, out of touch with actual performance in the rewarding, penurious in the training, and utterly absent in the management of a vast and hidden workforce of contractors and consultants who work side by side, desk by desk with the civil service. 3

The impact of non-strategic ‘‘downsizing.’’ The staffs of many Federal agencies suffer from imbalances in skills and experience as well as structural problems. The spate of ‘‘downsizing’’ during the 1990’s substantially reduced the number of regular, full-time Federal employees. Whether this downsizing really made the Federal Government much smaller is doubtful. According to Paul Light, the ‘‘era of big government’’ is still very much with us. 4 It clearly did not make the government smarter. The downsizing was accomplished indiscriminately through attrition, early retirements, and ‘‘buyouts’’ that resulted in random, across-the-board staff reductions.
Little or no consideration was given to the relative impact of the jobs eliminated—or the skills, experience, or performance of departing employees—on accomplishing agency missions. There is no evidence that this downsizing improved the efficiency or effectiveness of the Federal Government. On the contrary, the evidence suggests that the non-strategic way in which downsizing was accomplished actually detracted from the capacity of agencies to carry out essential functions and made them more vulnerable to fraud, waste, and mismanagement.
The General Accounting Office (GAO) found that lack of strategic planning during the initial phases of downsizing threatened the ability of some agencies to achieve their missions. The Comptroller General recently testified that ‘‘it is by no means clear that the current workforce is adequately balanced to properly execute agencies’ missions today, nor that adequate plans are in place to ensure the appropriate balance in the future.’’ 5 His testimony illustrates the perverse consequences of non-strategic downsizing. Agencies hoped to offset the loss of skilled employees by greater reliance on information technology (IT). However, due to staff reductions, they lack the skilled employees needed to take advantage of technology, and they are at a competitive disadvantage in hiring IT professionals.
They also appear to lack the necessary in-house expertise to oversee IT work that they have outsourced to contractors. 6

A top-heavy Federal workforce. Downsizing also has distorted the shape of the Federal workforce, making it more top heavy and less efficient. Not surprisingly, the greatest impact of downsizing occurred at the lowest levels of government. As Paul Light puts it, ‘‘The Federal Government eliminated primarily the jobs that were the easiest to cut, meaning the ones with the highest attrition and the lowest political profile.’’ 7 While middle management levels ostensibly were reduced, this often amounted to nothing more than changing titles. Thus, in reality, the number of political appointees, senior executives, and middle managers remained steady while layers of hierarchy actually expanded.
This effect is apparent in the title glut of recent years. From 1993 to 1998, a number of new senior level positions were established with such titles as ‘‘deputy to the deputy secretary,’’ ‘‘principal assistant deputy under secretary,’’ and ‘‘associate principal deputy assistant secretary.’’ 8 While contributing to greater layering and diffused accountability, high numbers of political appointees also are expensive. According to the Congressional Budget Office, capping the number of political appointees at 2,000 would save the taxpayers about $900 million in salary costs over 10 years. 9

The Comptroller General regards workforce (or what he refers to as ‘‘human capital’’) problems as an impending crisis for the Federal Government. He has labeled human capital management as the ‘‘missing link’’ in efforts to improve the Federal Government’s performance and accountability. 10 He adds that human capital management is likely to emerge as a new government-wide problem area when GAO updates its ‘‘high-risk list’’ of Federal program activities most vulnerable to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement:
[T]he widespread lack of attention to strategic human capital management may be creating a fundamental weakness in Federal management, possibly even putting at risk the Federal Government’s ability to efficiently, economically, and effectively deliver products and services to the taxpayers in the future. These shortcomings in the Federal
Government’s human capital management systems could well earn them GAO’s high-risk designation when the next High Risk Series is issued in 2001. 11
Likewise, Inspectors General (IGs) at nine major Federal agencies have listed workforce problems as one of the top 10 most serious management challenges that their agencies face. 12 Staffing problems underlie many other IG-identified top 10 management challenges at a number of major agencies, such as the lack of expertise to effectively oversee Federal contracts and grants and to provide effective service to the public.
GAO and IG reports are replete with specific examples of how staffing problems adversely affect the ability of Federal agencies to accomplish their missions.

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). ‘‘An insufficient mix of staff with the proper skills’’ was a key factor causing GAO to designate HUD programs across the board as high risk. 13 Along the same lines, the HUD IG recently testified: The adequacy of staff resources in the Department has long been a concern of the OIG and a root cause of many of HUD’s material weaknesses. Our audits have consistently found a mismatch between the number and complexity of HUD’s programs and the capability of HUD staff to administer those programs. 14
These longstanding workforce problems were exacerbated by random downsizing at HUD, as well as more recent staffing upheavals brought on by the Department’s ‘‘community builders’’ initiative. Despite the apparent lack of staff capacity to effectively carry out its existing programs, HUD consistently seeks to add more programs to the workload of its already beleaguered staff.

Social Security Administration (SSA). The IG at SSA has noted that the combined effect of staff downsizing and hiring restrictions, on the one hand, and the increasing volume and complexity of caseloads on the other, threatens SSA’s ability to provide quality service to the public:
The quality of service SSA provides to its customers continues to be a challenge facing the Agency. . . . The [Social Security Advisory] Board expressed concern about the effect of personnel downsizing and hiring restrictions on SSA’s service delivery mechanism. Such constraints limit the Agency’s ability to strengthen and revitalize employee ranks by bringing in new employees with new skills. This condition exists at the same time that caseloads continue to grow in volume and complexity. . . . The effects of low staffing levels for the customer include: delays in scheduling appointments; crowded reception areas; long waiting times; and inadequate telephone service. At the same time, the Agency is affected by attrition, high turnover, and increased backlogs of pending actions. 15 SSA’s Performance Report for Fiscal Year 1999 confirms that it is falling short of many of its customer service performance goals.
Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). Experts maintain that the combined effect of increasing applications and inexperienced staff at the Commerce Department’s PTO has resulted in undeserving patents slipping through. This, in turn, poses a critical threat to an economy that runs on intellectual property. One expert was quoted as saying, ‘‘Patent quality in this country is a joke. It’s getting worse.’’ 16
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Last year, NASA lost all four of its spacecraft bound for Mars. This cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and brought the entire Mars program to a halt. These problems did not stem from the risks inherent in space exploration. Instead, they resulted from simple negligence resulting in part from inexperienced staff and inadequate oversight of contractors. Likewise, GAO reports that an insufficient staff with the proper qualifications poses threats to the performance and safety of NASA’s space shuttle program. 17

Rethinking current systems. Solutions to our workforce problems will not come easily. For one thing, the Federal Government faces daunting recruiting challenges both at professional and leadership levels. In this regard, Paul Light observes: Sad to say, when young Americans are asked to picture themselves in public service careers, particularly at the Federal level, they picture themselves in deadend jobs where seniority, not performance, rules. And when more seasoned Americans are asked to picture themselves in appointive office, they picture themselves in a nomination and confirmation process characterized by endless inspection, over-disclosure, and delays at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. 18
Clearly, the basic assumptions underlying the current civil service system no longer hold true today. In particular, we need to rethink our current civil service paradigm of a large and permanent Federal bureaucracy composed of cradle-to-grave careerists.
We need to develop a new paradigm to fit a contemporary National workforce that features much greater mobility and very different motivations than in the past. In this regard, Paul Light states: Designed to sustain 30-year careers with one way in at the entry level and one way out at retirement, the government- centered public service is increasingly unattractive to a workforce that will change jobs and sectors frequently, and to workers who are much more focused on challenging work than security. Gone are the days when talented employees would endure hiring delays and a mind-numbing application process to get an entry-level government job. Gone, too, are the days when talented employees would accept slow but steady advancement through towering government bureaucracies in exchange for a 30-year commitment.
In the midst of a growing labor shortage, government is becoming an employer of last resort, one that caters more to the security-craver than the risk-taker. 19
Comptroller General Walker also emphasizes the need to rethink our current approach to the Federal workforce in light of changing conditions:
Changes in the demographics of the Federal workforce, in the education and skills required of its workers, and in basic Federal employment structures and arrangements are all continuing to unfold. The Federal workforce is aging; the baby boomers, with their valuable skills and experience, are drawing nearer to retirement; new employees joining the Federal workforce today have different expectations from the generation that preceded them. In response to an increasingly competitive job market, Federal agencies will need the tools and flexibilities to attract, hire, and retain top-flight talent. . . . Agencies’ employment structures and working arrangements will also be changing, and the workplace will need to accommodate a greater mix of full-time, part-time, and temporary workers; more contracting-out; less job security; and the possibility of additional government downsizing and realignments. 20

Improving the basics. It will be difficult to overcome some of the challenges the Federal Government faces in attracting the kind of workforce it needs. The government does not do a good job even in areas that are readily within its control. A recent survey of new hires by the Federal Government’s own Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) identified basic problems in the recruiting process.
For example, respondents reported that the time between submission of an application and being scheduled for an interview was unreasonably long, as was the time between being told they had a job and being able to report for work. The respondents also complained of not receiving timely feedback, or receiving no feedback at all, on the status of their applications. Finally, they did not receive the quality of service they expected from Federal hiring personnel.
Among other things, the MSPB recommended that agencies expedite their hiring processes and improve service to applicants. 21

Approaches to workforce management represent a stark contrast between the private sector and the Federal Government. The Federal Government has devoted little attention to workforce planning.
As discussed previously, this lack of attention was most pronounced in the recent downsizing. Downsizing was nothing but a numbers game. Agencies simply reduced in-house staffing without reducing or streamlining any of their functions. By contrast, private sector firms take a strategic approach to workforce issues.
They analyze which of their functions are important and effective, and which are not. They concentrate on improving the important things that they do. With regard to staffing, successful private sector organizations give very high priority to analyzing their workforce needs and ensuring that they are met. These firms systematically identify the skills and characteristics that their leaders and employees need to get the job done and make the investments needed to hire, develop, and retain a workforce that embodies and can sustain these competencies.
In 1999, GAO surveyed private sector firms that are regarded as leaders in workforce or ‘‘human capital’’ management in order to identify common principles that underlay their success. GAO identified 10 such common principles in all, which included the following:
· Treat human capital management as being fundamental to strategic business management. Integrate human capital considerations when identifying the mission, strategic goals, and core values of the organization as well as when designing and implementing operational policies and practices.
· Hire, develop, and sustain leaders according to leadership characteristics identified as essential to achieving specific missions and goals. Identify the leadership traits needed to achieve high performance of mission and goals. Build and sustain the organization’s pool of leaders through recruiting, hiring, development, retention, and succession policies and practices targeted at producing leaders with the identified characteristics.
· Hire, develop, and retain employees according to competencies. Identify the competencies—knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors—needed to achieve high performance of mission and goals, and build and sustain the organization’s talent pool through recruiting, hiring, development, and retention policies and practices targeted at building and sustaining those competencies.
· Use performance management systems, including pay and other meaningful incentives, to link performance to results. Provide incentives and hold employees accountable for contributing to the achievement of mission and goals. Reward those employees who meet or exceed clearly defined and transparent standards of high performance.
· Measure the effectiveness of human capital policies and practices.
Evaluate and make fact-based decisions on whether human capital policies and practices support high performance of mission and goals. Identify the performance return on human capital investments. 22

Unfortunately, the Executive Branch has paid scant attention to Federal workforce issues. There are some indications that its central management agencies—OMB and OPM—are beginning to take the Federal Government’s workforce crisis seriously. However, they are coming to these problems quite late and, as a result, most agencies remain far behind the curve.
For the past 3 fiscal years, OMB has included a set of so-called ‘‘Priority Management Objectives’’ (PMOs) as part of the Government-wide Performance Plan under the Government Performance and Results Act (‘‘Results Act’’). The PMOs are designed to capture the Federal Government’s ‘‘biggest management challenges.’’ Although the PMOs for FY 1999 and 2000 made no mention of Federal workforce problems, the FY 2001 version includes a PMO entitled, ‘‘Align Federal human resources to support agency goals.’’ 23 It states that OPM will:
· design a ‘‘prototype workforce planning model’’ to help agencies strategically assess their human resources needs;
· ‘‘work with’’ agencies on labor-management initiatives to ‘‘empower’’ managers and employees to improve customer service and get mission results;
· encourage agencies to make better use of existing personnel flexibilities and submit any necessary legislative proposals.
In addition, OMB’s guidance for agency Annual Performance Plans under the Results Act for FY 2001 specifically addresses workforce issues for the first time. It states:
The annual plan should include a performance goal(s) covering major human resources strategies, such as recruitment, retention, skill development and training, and appraisals linked to program performance, that help support the agency’s programs. 24
This new emphasis on workforce problems is encouraging. However, given the lack of emphasis in the past, most agencies have yet to address these problems. GAO has found that strategic workforce management was ‘‘notably absent’’ from agency Annual Performance Plans submitted under the Results Act. 25 Thus, there is much ground to make up.
The lack of foresight and leadership on the part of the Administration is particularly striking. Indeed, one publication recently editorialized on OPM’s late entry into Federal workforce problems: The Office of Personnel Management has watched for years as the effects of downsizing and aging on the Federal workforce have reached crisis proportions. Now it comes out with a strategic plan to help agencies improve retention, hiring, training and other human-resource issues. In short, the OPM plan is too late . . . OPM should be leading the effort to address nagging human-resource issues well before the crisis stage. Unfortunately, it took until this year for the Administration to acknowledge that human resources is a government-wide management priority. . . What would have been far more useful for the next Administration and Congress when they take office in January is not a list of ideas to solve problems, but a list of problems that have been solved. 26
Based on reviews of OPM’s past Results Act plans and reports, GAO found that OPM has made little progress toward the following key outcomes:
· The Federal Government has an appropriately constituted workforce with the proper skills to carry out its missions.
· Federal employees are evaluated, rewarded, and otherwise held accountable for their performance. 27
According to the GAO report, ‘‘OPM officials said that fundamental changes to the performance management framework were not deemed necessary.’’ 28 OPM has displayed resistance to change in the status quo. Its reaction to legislative reforms the Comptroller General proposed for GAO’s own workforce is a case in point. GAO faces essentially the same workforce challenges as most other agencies. To its credit, GAO is actively attempting to resolve them. However, in a letter to Congress, OPM Director Lachance stated that the personnel reforms GAO sought, which the Comptroller General deemed essential to restructuring his workforce,‘‘ would be inconsistent with the Administration’s policies for the Executive Branch.’’ She added, ‘‘If Congress chooses to allow these changes for GAO, it must be clear in the legislative history that it has done so without precedence for the Executive Branch.’’ 29

The incoming Administration will have to give much higher priority to addressing the Federal Government’s workforce crisis if it is to effectively execute its agenda and provide our citizens the essential services they need. The new Administration should start by charging OPM and OMB with developing new approaches that fit contemporary workforce trends as well as the needs of the Federal Government of the 21st Century.
This will require both long-term and short-term strategies. Over the long term, there is a clear need to reconsider what the Federal Government should do and how best to do it. As past problems with downsizing demonstrate, it makes no sense to restructure the Federal workforce without restructuring what the workforce needs to do. Only after current Federal operations and structures themselves have been redesigned and rationalized can the government’s workforce be redesigned in a meaningful way. This is the difference between random ‘‘downsizing’’ and strategic ‘‘rightsizing.’’ At the same time, the Federal Government needs to develop near-term approaches that can at least ameliorate the current crisis in Federal workforce management. The following recommendations cover some actions that need to be started immediately.
Greater leadership on critical workforce problems. OMB and OPM have acknowledged the seriousness of the Federal Government’s workforce problems. Now, the White House, OMB, and OPM, need to demonstrate strong executive leadership by putting forward specific proposals to address these problems. For example, OMB should develop more results-oriented goals to address workforce problems in the Government-wide Performance Plan. It also needs to include specific performance targets and measures to accompany those goals. For its part, OPM needs to be more open-minded and objective when it comes to changes in current personnel requirements.
There is overwhelming sentiment that Federal personnel systems are fundamentally broken. They clearly don’t enable agencies to align their workforces with their missions and to hold employees accountable for their performance. Yet, as illustrated by its reaction to GAO’s proposals, OPM seems to be reflexively hostile to even modest reforms.
Workforce planning. As discussed previously, many agencies face serious staff deficits and imbalances in terms of having the work- force they need to perform their current missions efficiently and effectively.
An initial means of addressing this problem is for agencies to undertake comprehensive workforce planning. Specifically, agencies should: (1) determine their workforce needs (number of employees, skill, experience levels, etc.) in relation to their current functions; (2) assess how their existing workforce compares to their needs; and (3) develop strategies to bridge the gaps between the workforce they have and the workforce they need. These strategies should encompass hiring, training, reorganizing, and ‘‘rightsizing’’ as appropriate. OPM is in the early stages of developing an automated program that will assist agencies in some aspects of evaluating their workforces. However, OPM will have to do much more to produce a useful and comprehensive workforce planning model that agencies need.
Performance goals to address workforce problems. In accordance with OMB guidance, agencies should establish Results Act performance goals and measures to address their most serious workforce challenges and to ensure accountability. Comprehensive performance goals and strategies probably need to await completion of the workforce planning referred to above. However, agencies can start with those areas that lend themselves to immediate action such as improving their recruitment practices and linking employee performance appraisals to performance results. (See below.)
Personnel flexibilities. OPM must ensure that agencies are aware of, and fully understand how to use, those personnel flexibilities that are now available to them by law and current regulations.
Given the complex and arcane nature of personnel requirements, it is clear that many agencies lack this understanding now. As stated above, OPM also needs to objectively consider and assist in developing changes to current personnel laws, rules, and practices to enable agencies to effectively develop, align, and manage their workforces so as to accomplish their mission results. The question is not whether fundamental changes are needed, but what they should be. Any increase in flexibility must be linked to accountability, as well as adherence to the merit system principles.
Linking performance to results. Accountability for performance results will become a reality for Federal employees when it is directly linked to their individual performance assessments and rewards.
Some agencies have already started doing this for senior managers. OPM recently issued regulations requiring such a linkage for Senior Executive Service staff. Obviously, it is more difficult to link agency performance results to the individual performance of non-managerial employees. However, much can be done to enhance performance accountability on the part of all employees.
Improving recruiting practices. The Federal Government faces many serious recruitment and retention challenges, some of which it has limited ability to influence. However, as recent reports and a host of anecdotes indicate, the government brings some recruitment problems on itself that are entirely within its control and easily remedied. For example, the MSPB report suggests that the government could improve its recruiting chances significantly by reducing inordinate delays in hiring decisions and simply treating applicants with common courtesy.
The foregoing recommendations are by no means exhaustive.
Now that the Federal Government’s workforce problems are finally getting attention, more solutions are sure to emerge. However, the above recommendations are intended to initiate discussion by all interested parties in improving the way the government works.

1. Paul C. Light, The New Public Service (The Brookings Institution, 1999).
2. Id. p. 2.
3. Id.
4. Another recent book by Paul C. Light, The True Size of Government (The
Brookings Institution, 1999), puts the results of downsizing into perspective. He
points out that most of the Federal employee reductions were defense-related and
were attributable primarily to the end of the Cold War. He also notes that a substantial
but unknown number of former Federal jobs migrated to a ‘‘shadow’’ Federal
workforce made up of contractors, other private sector employees, and State
and local government employees who are engaged, directly or indirectly, in carrying
out Federal mandates.
5. Human Capital: Managing Human Capital in the 21st Century, GAO/T–GGD–
00–77 (March 9, 2000), p. 5.
6. Id. pp. 4–5.
7. Paul C. Light, The New Public Service, note 1, p. 8.
8. Id. p. 10.
9. Congressional Budget Office, Budget Options (March 2000), p. 279.
10. Id. p. 1.
11. Id. p. 5.
12. These agencies are: EPA, GSA, HUD, Justice, NASA, NSF, OPM, SSA, and
13. See Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of Housing
and Urban Development, GAO/OCG–99–8 (January 1999), pp. 7–8.
14. See Statement of Susan Gaffney before the Subcommittee on Housing and
Transportation of the Senate Banking Committee on Management and Performance
Issues Facing HUD (September 26, 2000), p. 3.
15. Letter dated December 7, 1999, to Chairman Thompson from SSA IG James
G. Huse, p. 8.
16. Surge in Ideas, Turnover Swamps Patent Office, USA Today (September 11,
2000). The head of the Patent Office dismissed these concerns, stating: ‘‘We’re not
overwhelmed . . . We’re doing a great job.’’ However, the agency’s Performance Report
confirms that there is a problem. The agency fell short of its goal for cycle time
of inventions processed, and stated that achieving the goal in the future ‘‘remains
a challenge.’’ The agency pointed to the need for hiring to meet increased workloads.
Annual Program Performance Report of the Department of Commerce, FY 1999, pp.
17. Space Shuttle: Human Capital and Safety Upgrade Challenges Require Continued
Attention, GAO/NSIAD/GGD–00–186 (August 2000).
18. Paul C. Light, The New Public Service, note 1, p. 2.
19. Id. p. 1.
20. Human Capital: Managing Human Capital in the 21st Century, note 4, p. 2.
21. U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, Competing for Federal Jobs: Job Search
Experiences of New Hires (February 2000), pp. vii–viii. The full report can be found
at www.mspb.gov/studies/studies.html.
22. Human Capital: A Self-Assessment Checklist for Agency Leaders, GAO/OCG–
00–14G (September 2000), pp. 29–31.
23. See Budget of the U.S. Government for Fiscal Year 2001, p. 298.
24. OMB Circular No. A–11, Part 2, § 220.9(d) (2000).
25. Id. p. 11.
26. OPM Plan: Too Little, Too Late, Federal Times (October 30, 2000), p. 16.
27. Observations on the Office of Personnel Management’s Fiscal Year 1999 Performance
Report and Fiscal Year 2001 Performance Plan, GAO/GGD–00–156 (June
2000), pp. 3–4.
28. Id., p. 4.
29. Letters dated June 21, 2000, from OPM Director Janice R. Lachance to Representatives
Steny Hoyer and Henry Waxman.


Who are We Selling Ourselves to?

This is a rather interesting article I found today from the Long Island Press. Is this who your candidate is supporting?


Candidates Gone Wild
Essay By Robbie Woliver, News Story By Michael M. Martino Jr. 04/26/2007 10:59 am
Essay By Robbie Woliver

John McCain approves of sexy Nazi girls? John Edwards supports Satanists? Mitt Romney endorses casual sex? Well, if you’re a visitor to YouTube, that’s what these presidential candidates’ ads might be unintentionally leading you to believe.
John Edwards is all about new technology. The Democratic senator from South Carolina announced his candidacy for the presidency in a YouTube video filmed in New Orleans’ storm-ravaged Ninth Ward. He has utilized the expertise of people like Jed Alpert, CEO of Rights Group/Mobile Commons, who specialize in targeting mobile phones with text messages. (Hey, it worked when Alpert did it for Britney Spears—why not for the next president of the United States?) Edwards has also joined millions of potential 20- and 30-something voters—along with millions of teenage girls across America—by setting up his own MySpace account: johnedwards, fan of Bruce Springsteen, The Shawshank Redemption, running, reading and writing. Ew. Not 2 kewl.
And now, as part of YouTube YouChoose Spotlight ’08, Romney, McCain and Edwards offer their smiling faces, beaming right above such video titles as "Uncle Adolph and the Sexi Nazi Girls," "How to Get Laid at an Anti-Abortion Rally" and "N**gers, Nappy-Headed Hos & Booty Shaking," along with other headlines and videos touting everything from Satan worshipping to smoking crack to joining the KKK.
Any sensible person will know that Edwards and the other candidates don’t actually support—at least publicly—farting in public, anal bleaching and beating up bums for the camera. So why are these Oval Office hopefuls gracing these pages at all? How did these astute presidential candidates—who are trying to convince the American people that they have the smarts to run the country—allow this to happen? Simple: stupid campaigning.
Edwards was probably thrilled when he gave the final sign-off on the Spotlight ’08 campaign. After all, he was in good company—the GOP’s Romney was the candidate the week prior to Edwards (then imagine the gasps from the conservative Republican’s fellow Mormons who saw his banner crowning the "Polygamy and Me" preview page). Fellow candidates Rudy Giuliani, Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. Chris Dodd, Rep. Duncan Hunter, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Rep. Ron Paul, and Gov. Bill Richardson are all signed up to be spotlighted for one week each. McCain’s ads started appearing around 9 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25.
If the rest of the candidates go through with this, here is what we can expect: Giuliani heading the "Dedication to the Catholic Church by NAMBLA" page (NAMBLA is the North American Man-Boy Love Association); Hillary grinning atop the "Hillary Clinton vs. Monica Lewinsky Celebrity Deathmatch" page; and even Obama overseeing "Be a Man and Join the Ku Klux Klan" page. Imagine how viral those pages could get. It could—no, will—happen if they continue with the YouTube’08 campaign, unless these campaigns get their act together and pay attention to the details and understand the environment they have chosen to reach these voters.
So from his YouTube and MySpace profiles, we learn that Edwards loves classic rock, some sports and Morgan Freeman movies. He has 23,851 friends, including I’M 4-EVER HIS and Mr. Blonde (a reference to Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs). But most importantly, we learn that Edwards, Romney and the others who signed on to this youth-driven awareness campaign know very little about the contemporary media that they seem so interested in embracing.
Besides the embarrassment of the implied endorsement of the various activities captured on the YouTube videos and their glaring and oft-salacious headlines, all displayed under a proud, dominant all-American campaign banner, the reality that these guys are treading in unfamiliar waters is exposed, demonstrating their inexperience more than their genuine skills as members of the technorati. LOL.

Are Candidates Out Of Touch With Campaigning 2.0?News Story By Michael M. Martino Jr.
There is no question that the Internet will play a bigger role in the 2008 presidential election than it has in any prior election. Some of the most popular sites on the Web have jumped into the fray. On April 12, YouTube announced the kick-off of its "YouChoose’08" campaign, designed to feature every 2008 presidential candidate on virtually every page of video on the site. Maybe the candidates and the people at YouTube were a little too hasty.
An investigation by the Long Island Press has found that the links to the week’s featured candidate’s YouTube channel are visible on page after page of YouTube videos, no matter the title or subject matter of the videos uploaded to the site, making it appear to the viewer that the page is wholly sponsored by the candidate. For example, the banner ad of this week’s featured candidate John Edwards is placed about an inch above such videos as "Black Girls Gone Wild" and "Crazy Asian Porn."
Despite the implications, some candidates have decided not to pull the plug. In a case of very bad timing, Arizona Sen. John McCain, hours after announcing his official candidacy, is scheduled to be the featured YouChoose candidate, a decision McCain’s people say they are comfortable with, despite the information provided by the Press.
"YouTube is a new phenomenon," says Matt David, spokesperson for the campaign. "As such, sometimes it will be harmful and sometimes it will be helpful."
But after the campaign was made aware of the banner placements after they were actually posted, David finally responded, "We’re looking into the situation."
While many of the videos themselves are nothing more than spoofs, the titles can pack a punch.
"Rarely do presidential candidates have the chance to communicate with such a large number of voters and directly solicit their ideas and their input," said Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in a statement announcing the YouTube initiative on April 12. "I’m looking forward to interacting with this engaged community of people about the new generation of challenges confronting our nation."
After learning of the ill-placed ads, a source with the Romney campaign, who was not familiar with the content that would run below his candidate’s banner, told the Press, "Most people will recognize that the ad is created by YouTube, and that any placement on the site is coincidental."
While no reasonable person would be expected to think these candidates endorse or intentionally choose these inappropriate pages, the potential for embarrassment is certainly there. Campaigns are very frail by nature, and one weird step—for example, Howard Dean’s overenthusiastic speech in 2004—can completely derail a presidential bid. The way the YouChoose’08 campaign is set up, Sen. Barack Obama’s photo could very well be one inch away from a video that is pro-Ku Klux Klan, as were the photos of Romney, Edwards and McCain. Why they would want to remain associated with such content is beyond some people.
"I suspect that the obvious problem for the candidate is that the opponent can publicize what most people would consider his ad on inappropriate sites," says Stanley Feldman, professor of political science at SUNY Stony Brook. "The candidate whose banner ad appeared would need to explain why their ad is there. It would be an uncomfortable issue for the candidate."
Political flacks see the benefits of the Internet, but the dangers loom large.
"As a consultant, I would advise all of my candidates to take advantage of the opportunities the Internet affords us, including MySpace and YouTube," says Anthony Manetta, a New York campaign consultant. "That increases your visibility, your profile, and also, you tap into a certain demographic, younger generations of voters."
But he understands the need for vigilance.
"I would call on the campaign to be more diligent in terms of where they are placing their advertisement," says Manetta.
In speaking with several ’08 campaign sources, it was obvious that the news of the ad placement came as a shock to most, especially the McCain campaign, which was notified by the Press minutes after the senator’s announcement speech. But despite the information, the campaign will move forward. One highly placed campaign source from another camp said, "This is not good," when informed of the situation.
After the Press informed YouTube about the problem, the banner began disappearing from some pages, and was replaced for a time by an alternate banner, including a generic YouChoose link that took the visitor to a master page with all the candidates’ YouTube channels. A YouTube spokesperson said, "No comment," when asked if the situation was being addressed.
Now that YouTube and some of the campaigns have been notified, the situation maychange quickly. But for Romney, Edwards and McCain, the damage may already have been done

This is quite interesting. I, for one, had noticed what was appearing there, but hadn't given much thought to it. Is that because we are so dumbed down that we it just appears as an afterthought after the days of Mtv's Rock the Vote alongside that of Sir Mixalot?



Fred Thompson

Fred Thompson
Former U.S. Senator (R-TN)