Well, today is the day. This is President Obama’s fifth State of the Union address. What should we expect?
I expect at least a sentence or two thanking U.S. federal employees for their dedicated service in spite of being plagued in recent months with bad press, furloughs, sequestration, a government shutdown, etc. I hope to hear words that federal employees contribute to the well being of this country and as such are necessary.
I am saddened to hear that OPM is reducing its employee count by 356 in March. According to Friday’s Washington Post, this is because of federal agencies’ generally reducing their employee training dollars. Reduced training investments? What? Not again!
My colleague and I over the past few days spoke with many people from various backgrounds at the American Library Associations (ALA) Midwinter Meeting and Exhibits. Many were sympathetic to what we say in our book We Are Not the Enemy: Restoring Honor to U.S. Civil Service in that federal employees have been debased to often and are easy targets for bad press.
Many people we spoke to understand and believe that most federal employees work hard every day across this nation. They also agreed that there should be a change in how federal employees are viewed and talked about by their leaders and the press.
I feel encouraged by what I heard at the ALA event. Maybe there is a real chance for change. What say you?