Time to Take a Stand and Be Honest

Mark and I were given the opportunity to express our views on the state of civil service yesterday at the Census Bureau.  We talked about how civil service was once considered an honorable profession but is no longer honored.  We talked about strategies to change this negative conversation into a positive one.  We encouraged federal employees to speak positively themselves about their jobs and their agencies.  Positive speak has to start somewhere.

After the presentation, we were asked which of the strategies we mention in our book We Are Not the Enemy:  Restoring Honor to U.S. Civil Service would be our top priority.  Mark and I differ a bit on this point.  My view is that U.S. citizens must become better informed about the roles of leadership of our nation simply for the sake of accountability.  For example, when leaders say “The Government” is the problem, what does this really mean?  Do you really know?  In our book we define “The Government.”

I feel encouraged at the positive feedback we received regarding our message.  Federal employees said they appreciated our small attempt at changing the conversation about federal employees to a more positive one.

This is critical particularly now in light of the Veterans Administration controversy.  In my opinion, the overall problem behind the controversy at the VA is staffing resources.  Many federal agencies’ federal staff have been ‘downsized’ for many years (outside of DHS).  For many agencies, their federal workforce has declined and the remaining staff have been asked to take on more and more responsibility.  Those who remain have had to assume the responsibilities of their former colleagues, ultimately performing two or three jobs for no additional compensation or reward.

I can guarantee you that if investigators really dig in to what has happened they will know that this is a staffing issue.  Who will allow such ‘innovative’ research?  Right now, the leadership of the VA are the scapegoats.  This is again easy to do.  When will federal agencies be allowed to truly consider the federal staffing level required to perform their missions in an appropriate manner?  This has not happened in a long, long time.

Asking for funds to hire additional or to replace departing federal staff has been fairly taboo in nearly all federal agencies.

How many of you remember that some VA hospitals were closed?  I remember one in Washington DC.  This one has existed in DC since before I was born.  It was old and needed remodeling, but it was closed instead.  Think about it.  Fewer hospitals, fewer staff, less service.


About djaubey

I am a proud thirty-year federal employee and civil servant. Now retired. As a creative writer (both traditional and innovative), I provide a fresh perspective with a sound foundation in all my work. I am a researcher, writer and speaker with a love of the written word and in search of the truth.
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2 Responses to Time to Take a Stand and Be Honest

  1. Alex J says:

    Thanks for your effort in continuing the discussion on the role of federal employees. While the name has changed from civil service to federal employees, the functions remains the same. They provide services to “We the People”. The most important concept of our form of government that has been lost is the name itself, “Democracy”. Webster’s definition of Democracy is “government in which the supreme power is held by the people”, where people here refers to “We the People”. Until we understand that the people that we elect are elected to serve us, we will continue blame those who are appointed or employed to implement the laws of those who are elected. Our government is not for the elected and their friends, it is for “We the People”.

    • djaubey says:

      Thank you for your comment. You are right. Our country is for “We the People.” Federal employees support and serve the people of the United States of America. Its long past time to appreciate their service and support.

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